Democratic Congress to Obama "Move in My Direction"

If all it takes is singing a little Bananarama to the President-elect, we should do this more often because it worked. Via Politico tonight comes word that the President-elect and his economic team have agreed to "make changes to its stimulus proposal based off of concerns senators raised last week at a meeting with the president-elect's senior aides."

The Obama team told about 35 Senate Democrats gathered at Sunday's meeting that it would grow the size of an energy-tax incentive package and modify proposed tax credits for individuals and for businesses that hire new employees, according to meeting attendees. Also, with lawmakers raising concerns that the first half of the $700 billion of the financial rescue law was badly mismanaged, Obama's team signaled it would lay out precisely how it would spend the second half of that package, which Congress is expected to consider as soon as this week.

Below the fold some rather happy Democratic legislators.

"They're moving in our direction," Senator Barbara Boxer said, adding that the Obama team assured Democrats that the money given to state governments would reach cities and counties suffering from budget shortfalls.

"It's very clear they've listened, they've heard and that they're moving to respond," said Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Budget Committee, who questioned previously whether the tax credits in the stimulus package were enough to encourage new jobs. "It was very, very healthy. They're not defensive, not arguing back, they're listening, they're attempting to hear and they're responding."

"I'm not frustrated at all," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a member of the Finance Committee who last week criticized Obama's initial proposal to give companies a $3,000 tax credit for new hires. "I think they're moving effectively to the issues that we raised the other day, and there are significant changes put in place and being contemplated in the next hours, they'll be making some judgments with respect to a lot of that."

This is a good sign. He listens.

Tags: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Barack Obama, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator John Kerry, Senator Kent Conrad (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

What? No circular firing squad?

I mean we're talking about close to 40 of the leading Dems in the country all in the same room for two hours and they come out with a consensus (acting like they didn't have one before the meeting began)?

I truly hope Obama plays the media just as hard as Bush and Rove did--perhaps even better than Bush and Rove! Or, is that just wishful thinking?

by bobswern 2009-01-11 10:37PM | 0 recs
It's a refreshing change of pace.

The Senate Dems are telling Obama to be more liberal, and he's listening.

I never thought I would've seen this day.  Thank you, Jesus!

by djtyg 2009-01-12 12:52AM | 0 recs
It's all about political expediency, nothing more,

nothing less - he cannot afford to lose his first major battle - it's all about saving face! The senators basically reminded him that they were the ones who selected him over Clinton and not to forget it - they yanked his chain, that does not bode well... i.e. republican congress + republican president = the mess we are in today - if he's going to rubber stamp everything, he'll lose both houses in 2yrs Pitiful really - the act itself, not the bill but then again I want to know what the changes are going to be because the blue dogs didn't want tax breaks for the middle class - I want to see first.. before rejoicing!

by suzieg 2009-01-12 01:19AM | 0 recs
PLEASE.

Obama has miles more political capital. If he wanted to demonize Senate leaders, he could do it. In a heartbeat. Joining up with blue dogs like Bayh and claiming that Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid are too divisive would throw his approval ratings through the roof. The hard part is actually doing what he's doing right now. Trying to adjust, and doing so in full view of the public.

by vcalzone 2009-01-12 02:33AM | 0 recs
Re: PLEASE.

Not even DEMOCRATS like Pelosi, for Christ's sake.

by vcalzone 2009-01-12 02:34AM | 0 recs
Re: PLEASE.

Well, moreso with Reid, but still. She caved in on far too many issues important to me to make me feel bad for her should Obama need to throw her under.

by vcalzone 2009-01-12 02:35AM | 0 recs
Really?

The senators basically reminded him that they were the ones who selected him over Clinton

It's always good to throw a bit of humor in to take the edge off a serious subject.

by jsfox 2009-01-12 03:54AM | 0 recs
Yawn. Bored.

This narrative is not credible.  It oversimplifies the mechanics of power in order to bend political realities, not to mention recent political history, in willful service to personal allegiance and affiliation.

Repeating it does not increase its credibility, it merely becomes an over-determined drone.

If Clinton's interests in personal power and commitments to affecting change are not mutually exclusive, and if choosing one over the other is a naive oversimplification, then isn't it equally credible that the same is true of Obama?  Isn't equally in/credible that the same is /not true of Obama?

At least you must recognize that control of the executive branch entails massive power even over those who assisted its accomplishment.  

I don't believe that senate democrats and the DNC simply made Obama.  Even if they did, which I consider an impossibly naive and mystified notion, it would not follow that they would be self-destructive enough to break him out of spite and sabotage their own position.

There may be no angels, but simple and cynical demonhood is just as unlikely.

by Strummerson 2009-01-12 04:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Congress to Obama

Anybody who thinks this wasn't part of Obama's plan is a fool.  As I said before, this was a masterful gambit.

I expect great things from Mr. Obama.

by lojasmo 2009-01-12 01:47AM | 0 recs
Yep this was Obama's plan all along

I think this was Obama's play all along.  Co-opt the GOP's point of view so that he would be negotiating with the Senate Dems instead of the Republicans.  

This made the media and the Senate Dems do Obama's dirty work by raising questions if the package is big enough and is tax cuts the most effective thing to do right now.  As a result, Americans heard that the package was too small and tax cuts are dumb right now NOT from the Obama team but from pundits and the Senate Dems.  Obama team thus looked centrist and fiscally conservative.

Who didn't we hear from?  The Republicans.  They effectively were made mute by Obama taking "their position".

Touche!

by puma 2009-01-12 02:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep this was Obama's plan all along

Moreover, by turning this into a public negotiation, he can turn to the Republicans and say that he's open to discussion. He gets to slam them if they do what they wanted to do, bitch and moan while knowing they can't block it.

by vcalzone 2009-01-12 02:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep this was Obama's plan all along

> I think this was Obama's play all along.

Yeah, after 8 years of Bush, he's got to retrain Congress to you know... actually govern. Right now, this is definitely looking like win/win, unless you're a Republican.

by jroyale 2009-01-12 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep this was Obama's plan all along

Then he's the smartest man to have ever lived, ever.

by djtyg 2009-01-12 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Congress to Obama

Exactly.  It's a little frustrating watching everyone pass judgement on Obama's skill at checkers when he's playing chess. Of course when they figure that out he'll have to move on to Star Trek three dimensional chess.

by marcbrazeau 2009-01-12 05:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Congress to Obama

Your argument bares no relationship to the GOP. I just asked this several times in the other diary on this subject. No explanation yet of how this fits with the tactical action against GOP. Just that its what Obama planned, and it still does not explain what the GOP will do.

by bruh3 2009-01-12 07:08AM | 0 recs

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