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Friday, February 6, 2009

Democratic Chatter 2-6-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

Welcome to Washington, Mr. President - President Barack Obama is finding his first weeks in office to be anything but easy. He has had Cabinet nominees withdraw due to tax issues and others have their confirmations delayed due to questions that should have been addressed during the vetting process.

Now, the 900+ Billion Stimulus bill vote in the Senate is being delayed due to lack of consensus. It was expected to be voted on last night. But, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could see the writing on the wall and postponed further discussion until today. A major question from both sides of the aisle is the low level of funding in the bill for infrastructure improvement across the country and questions surrounding funding a myriad of other items unrelated to what had originally been proposed.

Reid is saying if the bill does not come to a vote today, he will get the necessary 60 votes on Sunday to call for the vote to pass the bill. Expect many changes and compromises to have transpired overnight. has more here.


598,000 Jobs lost in January adds urgency to pass Stimulus bill - unemployment now is 7.6%, the highest since September 1992. The number of jobs lost in the last four months now exceeds 2 million. The NY Times has more here.


President Obama to name Economic Advisory Board today - we reported yesterday that Paul Volcker, a former Treasury Secretary was in a little bit of of a snit as he had not been named to head the special committee appointed by the President to offer advise on getting the country out of the economic mess it is in. Well, today, he gets his time in the spotlight when he appears with the President. Let's hope he and the committee gives good advise. has more here.


On Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will spell out new Economic Stability Plan - this will be a revision of (TARP) the Troubled Assets Relief Program which the remaining 350 Billion was recently authorized by for the Treasury to spend. Expect more help to go to troubled mortgages to help Homeowners with more transparency and accountability to be included in the revisions put forward by Geithner. What is unknown is whether he intends to up the current budgeted amount of 350 Billion and ask Congress for more funds. has more here.


Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis confirmation delayed - taxes pop up once again for a nominee for the President's Cabinet. This time it pertains to the husband of the nominee. Solis is already facing opposition due to her support of Labor so this recent issue is not so surprising to have popped up at this late date. has more here.


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has pancreatic cancer - she had surgery yesterday in what has been said to be very early stages of cancer. She is 75 years old. During the Presidential campaign, due to the age of some of the Justices on the Supreme Court, it was often discussed that the next President could easily be responsible for appointing several Supreme Court Justices. Let's hope for a rapid recovery for Ginsburg. The Wall Street Journal has more here.


Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate race saga continues - the state mandated recount resulting in the canvassing board verifying Democrat Al Franken the winner by 225 votes. Then incumbent Republican Norm Coleman filed suit asking for additional previously rejected absentee ballots be counted. The court just recently said up to 4800 ballots could be argued to be counted by the Coleman campaign.

Now, the Franken campaign is asking the court for more previously rejected absentee ballots to be counted. The issue of contention is where the ballots are from with some areas favoring conservative and other areas, more liberal candidates. How about just reviewing all the remaining 20,000 rejected absentee ballots? Just a thought. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has more here.


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