Some House Democrats are fessing up: the stimulus is one junky bill. The Hill reports:
“I’m concerned that bad process leads to a bad product,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who said he cast a “reluctant yes” vote.
“I’m willing to give the president and the Senate the chance to make this a better bill,” he added, reflecting a sentiment shared by both some Democrats and nearly all Republicans.
Despite what some described as “significant” Democratic trepidation, a number of Democrats said that many in the caucus were very hesitant to deliver any kind of blow to their president during his second week in office.
For the 11 Democrats, though – mainly a mix of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats and newly elected Freshmen – it was just as important to send a message to their leaders that they have more work to do.
“His bill was fine,” Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a veteran Blue Dog said, referring to Obama. “Congress messed it up.”
“It’s not going to be passed for two weeks,” Cooper added. “Can’t we spend a little more time crafting a better package?”
Well, it remains to be seen whether the bill gets better or worse. According to the Senate Minority Leader, things are heading toward the latter with such additions in the Senate version as these:
• $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers.”
• $400 million for STD prevention
• $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails
• $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
• $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
• $150 million for honey bee insurance
In the end, the vast majority of Democrats won’t cross the White House, but there is no reason why the White House shouldn’t make the bill better and remove the embarrassment factor for those walking the plank on its behalf. It remains a mystery why the White House isn’t taking a stronger hand in reworking the bill to improve it. After all, that is what Rahm Emanuel, in part, is there for — to restrain the worst impulses of the Democratic Congress. So far he’s not doing a very good job.