Obama Pushes to Pass Stimulus Bill

February 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
New numbers show more people are out of work. The labor department said the number of laid-off workers has gone up to 626,000. It's the highest number in more than 26 years. Meantime the White House has made its own countdown clock for the massive economic stimulus bill making its way through congress. President Obama wants it passed within days.

President Barack Obama wants the economic stimulus bill passed this weekend. One of the ways he hopes to achieve that goal is to divide and conquer the opposition, saying their criticisms sound like the failed economic policies of the past. "I reject these theories and so do the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change."

Then there's the small group of GOP senators who could break from their party. "The president is targeting a group of about six, at most, Republicans. Senate sources say they need three republicans to go along to pass this bill this weekend," said ABC News Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

Republican Senator Susan Collins, (R) Maine, is one of the senators of a bi-partisan group trying to broker a deal. She met yesterday with the president. "I expressed concern about some of the provisions that are in the house- passed bill that may be very worthwhile, but would not stimulate the economy."

The stimulus bill has grown to nearly one-trillion dollars, with new amendments being added. One that republicans support is a $15,000 tax credit for home buyers. But one that drew their ire of is the "buy American" provision. President Obama's former rival Senator John McCain, (R) Arizona: "As I said, the President of the United States said that this would be a mistake right now. It sends a message to the world that the United States is going back to protectionism."

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has assured the President that he will pass the bill by this weekend.

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