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Congressional Republicans, seeing bipartisanship as a one-way street that serves their needs, plan to throw up roadblocks to President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plans unless he gives in to their demands.
GOP leaders in both the House and Senate say they will urge their followers to vote "no" unless Obama caves in.
So much for the spirit of bipartisanship.
Reports Sharon Otterman of The New York Times:
Republicans plan to test President Barack Obama’s commitment to bipartisanship as his $825 billion stimulus package heads to the floor of the House of Representatives this week, with the House Republican leader saying Sunday morning that many in his party will vote no unless there are significant changes to the plan.
“Right now, given the concerns that we have over the size of this package and all of the spending in this package, we don’t think it’s going to work,” the House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And so if it’s the plan that I see today, put me down in the no column.”
While the plan can potentially pass the Democratic-dominated House without Republican support, it will continue to face opposition when it comes before the Senate, said Senator John McCain of Arizona, speaking on “Fox News Sunday.” At least two Republicans will need to approve the bill for a filibuster-proof majority vote of 60.
Senator McCain, who lost the presidential election to Mr. Obama in November, said that he planned to vote no unless the bill were changed.
“We need to make tax cuts permanent, and we need to make a commitment that there’ll be no new taxes,” Mr. McCain said. “We need to cut payroll taxes. We need to cut business taxes.”
“We need to have a commitment that after a couple of quarters of G.D.P. growth that we will embark on a path,” he said about the gross domestic product, “to reduce spending to get our budget in balance.”
The Republican objections came as President Obama dispatched his top economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, to the talk shows to defend aspects of the plan that have come under attack. More details about the stimulus package, the largest of its kind in the nation’s history, have become clear this weekend, as Democrats released a more detailed list of the spending.
Speaking on “Meet the Press,” Mr. Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said that the president was attempting to strike a balance between tax cuts and longer-term initiatives in the bill, like spending on renewable energy and college tuition assistance.