Battle Lines Harden in Stimulus Debate

Washington Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the day's tone without mincing words. "This is a critical day for our country and our congress."

At stake, the congressional fate of the president's economic stimulus bill.

All week, centrist Republicans and Democrats have been meeting to try to trim away some of the programs that the GOP claims won't create jobs.

Reid said they've made progress, "I think that we're going to be able to work something out. I feel very comfortable that we can do that."

But there's no deal yet, and today's dismal job numbers added fire to the debate.

GOP leaders insist that the best way to create jobs is to cut taxes, not boost government spending. "We will not support an aimless spending spree masquerading as stimulus," said Senator Mitch McConnell (R) Kentucky.

President Obama has been lobbying hard for the bill, visiting Capitol Hill and meeting individually with reticent republicans.

Using increasingly blunt language he has made clear that passing the stimulus is just the beginning of what will be a long road to recovery. And today he announced a new team of advisors to help steer the course.

The economic recovery advisory board will include democrats and republicans led by former fed chair Paul Volcker.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said today he's hopeful the senate can bring the stimulus to a vote by Friday night. From there it would have to go back to the house for a quick approval if the President is to sign the bill on his target date; President's Day, February 16th.


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