Obama Returns to Washington

January 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The president-elect is already facing some tough issues including revelations about one of his cabinet picks.Arriving in Washington Sunday night, the president-elect's agenda appears to be focusing on containing damage to the economy with a proposed stimulus package that could approach up to $775 billion dollars. Obama also has to deal with the abrupt withdrawal of New Mexico governor Bill Richardson from his cabinet.

"This story appeared in the press before Richardson appointment. Obama team didn't do all their homework or they would not be in the position they are in today," said ABC News Political Editor David Chalian.

The governor, who was nominated to lead the commerce department, is under federal investigation into whether he steered a state highway project worth $1.5 million dollars toward CDR Financial Associates, a firm run by a major Richardson contributor. But experts said this political bombshell will soon be overshadowed by the problems facing the incoming president, with the battered economy on the top of the list.

"Because there's so many other challenges of such magnitude. President-Elect Obama coming to the hill tomorrow to talk about the economic plan, the largest one since the Great Depression," said Senior Washington Correspondent George Stephanopolous.

40% of the proposed stimulus package would go towards tax cuts for businesses and the middle class over 2 years.

"We're going to get it done as quickly as we can," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D).

But Republican lawmakers are expressing concern about the price tag. "This is an enormous bill. It could be close to a $1-trillion spending bill. Do we want to do it with essentially no hearings, no input from Republican Senators," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).

President-Elect Obama has meetings scheduled Monday afternoon with Democratic and Republican leaders.

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