Yielding the floor to the Gang of Four By Thomas Fitzgerald



Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., talks about the Senate’s economic stimulus bill as Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left to right, listen. (J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press)


A small group of moderate senators including Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) reached the deal that appeared to assure Senate passage of an economic stimulus bill yesterday after more than 10 hours of near-constant private meetings.

Specter was in the middle of the action, with many critical talks occurring in his private “hideaway” office on the first floor of the Capitol.

Nobody involved was really happy, but there was a consensus that the group did not want to say no to the president or an anxious nation.

“Personally, I would prefer not to be on the edge of the pin, as so frequently is the case in this body,” Specter said in a floor speech last night. “But I do believe we have to act, and under the circumstances, this is the best we can do.”

In announcing that a tentative deal had been reached, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) credited Specter and Sens. Susan Collins (R., Maine), Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) and Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) with saving the package.

“But for them we would not be here,” Reid said, yielding the floor to the Gang of Four to detail the agreement.

Specter said that based on the calls his office had received, supporting the stimulus legislation is a “very unpopular vote.” Some calls, he said, thought the bill had “too many expenditures” and others said not enough money was being spent.

Indeed, some conservative Republicans have vowed to punish Specter, who is running for reelection next year, if he votes for legislation that they consider wasteful.

Lieberman, in a news conference, said Specter and Collins “really deserve the medal of honor for what they’ve done here tonight. They’ve put national interest ahead of party interest.”

Specter said that against the backdrop of mounting job losses announced yesterday, “the psychological impact if we were to reject an activist approach would be devastating.” He said the “eyes and ears of the world” were on the U.S. government, watching its response to the economic crisis.

Specter said he had already noted “certain grave concerns” with the stimulus legislation and had asked President Obama why he was “wedded” to completing action on it by Feb. 13. Specter said he told Obama this was too fast “for a bill of this magnitude.”

But he said that Obama had stressed the urgency of action, so while “I don’t like it,” Specter said, “we’re responding to this timetable.”

Parts of the bill “give me heartburn,” Specter said.

He outlined some of the $145 billion in spending reductions made to get to the consensus bill – for example, child care was allotted $2 billion initially, but $1.4 billion in the tentative deal. Many people are unhappy with such reductions, “but absent this bill, they get zero,” he noted.

“There are reasons to argue that it’s a bad bill,” Specter said, “but I do not believe that there is any doubt that the economy would be enormously worse off without it.”

Contact staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald at 215-854-2718 or tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Michael Savage on Stimulus Deal

From martysoffice

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Senate is slated to vote early next week on an economic stimulus package totaling at least $780 billion that President Barack Obama said is needed to prevent the economy from sinking into a deeper recession.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, scheduled a key procedural vote for 5:30 p.m. Washington time on Feb. 9 after a dispute over the measures size was resolved yesterday. If the procedural hurdle is cleared, Reid said a vote on the bill would take place on Feb. 10.

If it passes, lawmakers will attempt to reconcile the Senate bill with an $819 billion stimulus bill the House approved last month. Democratic congressional leaders are pushing to deliver a final bill to Obama by the end of next week.

24 Responses to “Yielding the floor to the Gang of Four By Thomas Fitzgerald”

  1. rosettasister Says:


    February 06, 2009

    RNC Chairman Michael Steele Delivers Weekly Republican Address

  2. rosettasister Says:

    “The Stimulus Tragedy”

    “Obama bets that we can spend our way to prosperity.”



    The biggest gamble with this stimulus is what it means if the economy doesn’t recover.

    Monetary policy is already as stimulative as it can safely get, and the Obama Administration is set to announce its big financial fix on Monday.

    Stocks rallied Friday on expectations of the latter, despite the job loss report, with big bank stocks leading the way.

    If done right, this will help reduce risk aversion and gradually restore financial confidence.

    We hope it does, because the size and waste of the stimulus means we won’t have much ammunition left.

    The spending will take the U.S. budget deficit up to some 12% of GDP, about double the peak of the 1980s and into uncharted territory.

    The tragedy of the Obama stimulus is that we are getting so little for all that money.

  3. rosettasister Says:


    Amyaz A. Moledina, assistant professor and director of Social Entrepreneurship at The College of Wooster, offered mixed feelings about the stimulus package.

    “I’m worried about the stimulus package and if it will indeed have the desired positive effect,” Moledina stated in an e-mail.

    “Without the proposed plan, the U.S. budget deficit will reach about 8.3 percent of our gross domestic product and an added $825 billion from the Obama plan is uncomfortably large.

  4. ddlew2 Says:

    White males need not apply.

  5. rosettasister Says:

    From 3.2% to 8.3% to 12.0% of GDP

    This is unconscionable and unscrupulous!

    “CBO 2009 Deficit Projection Tops $1 Trillion”


    The Congressional Budget Office released its annual report on the ten-year budget and economic outlook.

    In 2009, CBO projects that the federal budget deficit will be $1.2 trillion.

    At 8.3 percent of GDP, that number would “shatter the previous post-World War II record high of 6.0 percent”

    And, that doesn’t include a economic rescue package that will likely be well over $700 billion.

    In FY 2008, the deficit was $455 billion (3.2 percent of GDP), so why the massive increase (and remember, this does not include an economic recovery bill)? CBO projects that in 2009:

    • TARP expenditures will add over $180 billion

    • Federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will add $238 billion

    • Revenues will decline by $166 billion

    • Plus, the declining economy will increase eligibility rates for participation in other spending programs like nutrition assistance, unemployment insurance, and Medicaid

  6. justanamericancindy4 Says:

    excerpt from Online Journal
    Obama’s appearance at the Alfalfa Club dinner was yet another example of how he is being controlled by Emanuel. A week and a half ago, Emanuel was, according to a New York Times report, cracking his knuckles at a meeting in the Cabinet Room attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Cabinet officials, and senior White House staff. Obama asked Emanuel to stop, finding the practice annoying, whereupon Emanuel cracked his knuckle in Obama’s ear. The incident, far from a joke, was a message to all those present, especially Pelosi, as to who is in charge at the White House.

  7. justanamericancindy4 Says:

    thanks ddlew 🙂

    I have a friend that didn’t believe me that was said…. and wanted to see it for themselves.. But I couldn’t locate it…..

    seems like it you aren’t exact on youtube you have a harder time finding those “unpopular” videos

  8. rosettasister Says:

    justanamericancindy4 Says:
    February 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    “Obama asked Emanuel to stop, finding the practice annoying, whereupon Emanuel cracked his knuckle in Obama’s ear.”


    Wow, he’s a bigger ass than I thought!

  9. rosettasister Says:

    ‘I found this deficit when I showed up,’ Obama said, in a clear swipe at the administration of former president George W Bush.

    (Translation – “Let’s pile on, let’s make things worse! It’s all Bush’s fault, anyway!”)

    “Faith-Based Economics”

    “Keynes makes a comeback, but his ideas are still wrong”


    The CBO estimates that the 2009 budget deficit will be $1.2 trillion, or 8.3 percent of GDP.

    Obama’s “recovery and reinvestment” plan is expected to increase the deficit by $825 billion over two years.

    Assuming that sum is split evenly between 2009 and 2010, it would raise the estimated deficit to 11.3 percent of GDP this year and 7.6 percent in the following year.

    And that’s not counting another $350 billion for the TARP slush fund.

    A deficit of 11.3 percent of GDP would be nearly twice the previous peacetime record of 6 percent, set in 1983.

    Japan’s deficit was nearly as high in 1998, however, reaching 10.7 percent of GDP.

    Did that jump-start Japan’s economy?

    No, it did not.

  10. rosettasister Says:

    “The Stimulus Dealmakers”


    The full remarks from Sen. Mitch McConnell are after the jump, below.

    They sounded a very sensible and sensitive tone on the issue:

    “The question of whether or not the economy needs help is really not in debate. I don’t think there’s a single member of the Senate that believes that no action is the appropriate course for us to take.

    “But one of the good things about reading history is you learn a good deal. And, we know for sure that the big spending programs of the New Deal did not work.

    “In 1940, unemployment was still 15%. And, it’s widely agreed among economists, that what got us out of the doldrums that we were in during the Depression was the beginning of World War II.

    “We have another example.

    “What is called in Japan the Lost Decade of the 1990’s, where stimulus packages similar to the one we’re considering tonight were tried again, and again, and again. And, at the end of the 1990’s, Japan, looked very much like it did at the beginning of the 1990’s, except that it had a much larger debt.

    “Now, we’ve not seen the compromise proposal, which has been discussed here tonight. And, I know there’s been a good faith effort on the part of those involved to pare down the size of the underlying Senate measure.

    “But as near as we can tell, even after those efforts, it is roughly the same size as the House bill.

    “According to the figures I’ve been given, the House bill is about $820 billion. The Senate bill, under the compromise, we believe, would be about $827 billion. Bear in mind the interest costs on either of those proposals would be $348 billion. So we’re really talking about a $1.1 trillion pending measure.

    “A $1.1 trillion spending measure. We’re looking at a $1 trillion deficit for this fiscal year.

    “We believe that the Secretary of the Treasury and the President will suggest to us as early as next week that we need to do — what has commonly become referred to as a TARP round – some kind of additional assistance for the financial system as early as next week.

    We’re talking about an extraordinarily large amount of money and a crushing debt for our grandchildren.

    “Now, if most Republicans were convinced that this would work, there might be a greater willingness to support it. But all the historical evidence suggests that it’s highly unlikely to work. And so, you have to balance the likelihood of success versus the crushing debt that we’re levying on the backs of our children, our grandchildren, and, yes, their children.

    “And the need to finance all of this debt which many suspect would lead to ever higher and higher interest rates which could create a new round of problems for our economy.

    “So let me just sum it up by saying no action is not what any of my Republican colleagues are advocating. But most of us are deeply skeptical that this will work. And that level of skepticism leads us to believe that this course of action should not be chosen.

    “We had an opportunity to do this in a truly bipartisan basis and the President said originally he had hoped to get 80 votes. It appears that, the way this has developed, there will be some bipartisan support, but not a lot. And it’s not likely, in the judgment of most of us, to produce the result that we all desire.

    “So, I will not be in a position to recommend support for this product as it has developed in spite, again, of the best efforts of those who worked on the compromise. I commend them for their willingness to try to work this out. It seems to me that it falls far short of the kind of measure that we should be passing.

  11. rosettasister Says:

    Jim Robinson at Free Republic still believes bill can be defeated.

    “Defeat Marxism!! Defeat Porkulus!! Target your wrath!!”


    Click here to contact your senators!


  12. rosettasister Says:

    Anyone have a better idea?!

    To: Mangia E Statti Zitto

    Mangia E Statti Zitto wrote: Earlier I saw a thread encouraging we boycott Maine products. If we all send emails to LL Bean telling them we will no longer purchase their products, I’ll bet THEY know how to get through to the Maine girls.

    Hey, this is an idea. Is there any way to tell if LLBean donated to the Democrats?

    37 posted on Saturday, February 07, 2009 12:02:11 PM by Old_Grouch


  13. sliderblaze Says:

    rumor has it that the house is gonna try and reload all that crap that was taken out. I think that we need to push for them to do that, there fore there should be no freaking way Specter and the likes of can vote for it.
    And prove once and for all that the Dems are treating this as a christmas tree and not as a serious piece of leg.

  14. rosettasister Says:

    sliderblaze Says:
    February 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Good point, slider.

    If they’re foolish enough to try that, that would be a good excuse for Specter, Snowe, and Collins to say “No Way!”

    I really do believe the Repubs dropped the ball on this one.

    They should have framed the debate in terms of % of GDP.

    That is some scary shit!

  15. sliderblaze Says:

    this debate aint over yet. i know for a fact, that specter wont make it to reelction over this mess.

  16. rosettasister Says:

    sliderblaze Says:
    February 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    this debate aint over yet. i know for a fact, that specter wont make it to reelction over this mess.


    slider, I’m sure in his heart he believes he’s doing the right, the necessary.

    another decision made from guilt.

    guilt is not love.

    I’ll be glad when this generation can no longer wield the influence it does today.

  17. rosettasister Says:

    Another Saturday night and I ain’t got …

    Oh, nevermind!

    New Thread:


  18. sliderblaze Says:

    specter is always doing this lame sh!t….. i know we here in Pa. are sick of it.

  19. rosettasister Says:

    sliderblaze Says:
    February 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    specter is always doing this lame sh!t….. i know we here in Pa. are sick of it.


    ahh, but the question is are enough of you sick of it?

    and does specter even care?

    he did return from the dead, after all.

  20. sliderblaze Says:

    Yes we are. When there is a “gang of” you best believe that specters is usually in that gang or right close to it. I hope the RNC doesnt give any money to this clown. What they did is sabotage.

  21. rosettasister Says:

    Well, let me tell you what I think about Lieberman’s role.

    He’s been bucking his own party, and I believe has been in the right.

    So I think it gave him a great deal of pleasure to come out and say, “You know, I know what it’s like, and let me tell you, it’s no fun being a pariah.”

    But now is not the time for “I told you so.”

    I wouldn’t expect any different from Lieberman.

    But I think his role gave cover to Specter and Collins.

    I think the message was, you know Lieberman bucked his party and turned out to be right.

    Just wait and see, we are wiser than the leadership in our party.

    In my opinion, I think Lieberman basked in the moment with a little too much glee and the muse which once used to guide him seems to have mysteriously vanished.

  22. j.b. Says:


  23. Ted Says:

    No to “stimulus” bill. Here’s why:
    Since Obama’s earnest drive to convince the nation to weaken its economic strength through redistribution as well as weaken its national defense, has confirmed the very threats to our Republic’s survival that the Constitution was designed to avert, it no longer is sustainable for the United States Supreme Court and Military Joint Chiefs to refrain from exercising WHAT IS THEIR ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO DEFEND THE NATION FROM UNLAWFUL USURPATION. The questions of Obama’s Kenyan birth and his father’s Kenyan/British citizenship (admitted on his own website) have been conflated by his sustained unwillingnes to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal, and compounded by his internet posting of a discredited ‘after-the-fact’ short form ‘certificate’. In the absence of these issues being acknowledged and addressed, IT IS MANIFEST THAT OBAMA REMAINS INELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Being a 14th Amendment ‘citizen’ is not sufficient. A ‘President’ MUST BE an Article 2 ‘natural born citizen’ AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT.

  24. susiezen Says:

    Wasnt spector the one who wanted to spend millions of tax payers money, fighting the new england patriots for winning the super bowl in 2005 against the eagles.
    what did he think the fight would reveal after millions of dollars got sacked….oohh the patriots cheated! please! what a moron.

    I have absolutly no faith in spector…
    And as far as MAine goes…if their taxes were any higher every mainiac would move…I almost bought a house in southern Maine until I was privy to all the taxes…cya!

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