The Plank

Obama Defangs Mcconnell

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Peter Baker reports that Republicans (or at least Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell) emerged from the bipartisan White House economic meeting just now optimistic that we'll have a stimulus bill by mid-February. Baker notes that Obama budget director Peter Orszag offered the same assurance I'd written about yesterday--that 75 percent of the overall bill will take effect in the next 18 months--which seems to have gone over pretty well.

One semi-comical coda: Everyone--Obama, Senate Democrats and Republicans, House Dems--seem to be basically ignoring the House GOP, with the upshot being lots of whining from those quarters. To wit:

Mr. McConnell said the president was “open to our suggestions” and Ms. Pelosi said some tax breaks in the House Democratic plan were suggested by Republicans. But that comment quickly triggered a sharp response from Mr. Boehner’s office. “That is simply not true,” said his spokeswoman, Antonia Ferrier.

A job-creation tax credit for businesses was actually suggested by Mr. Obama, not Republicans, Ms. Ferrier pointed out, and has now been removed from the package.

Ah, such is life in the House minority.

--Noam Scheiber

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