Van Hollen Ponders Surprises in Stimulus

Posted February 13, 2009 at 10:31am

As the House moves toward an afternoon vote on the package, Republicans aren’t the only ones unsure of what ended up in the $789 billion economic stimulus conference report unveiled late Thursday.

“You know, I’d be hard pressed to say that there’s nothing in here that would be a surprise,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Thursday on Fox News.

“I certainly hope not,” Van Hollen said. “I’m going to be reading this bill very carefully to make sure that there are no surprises. … And we’re going to do our very best to get this information out as quickly as possible.”

GOP leaders have complained loudly about being shut out of negotiations on the 1,000-page stimulus bill, which was posted online after midnight and which they say they need more time to review.

Van Hollen said that most provisions in the package, particularly big items, “have been very publicly vetted” but that he couldn’t guarantee there won’t be any smaller surprises.

“Again, you’re taking a House bill and a Senate bill, you’re squeezing them together. Some provisions that were in the House bill are no longer there. Some that were in the Senate bill are no longer there,” the Maryland Democrat said.