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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Democratic Chatter 2-14-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

This morning, in his weekly address to the nation, President Barack Obama spoke of the passage by Congress of his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan - better known as the 787 billion Stimulus bill. He cautioned there are no quick fixes for the economy and recognized some questioned the effectiveness of the bill. He said Americans can check on the progress of the bill at You can watch his speech below.

privacy policy download .mp4 also available here audio


787 billion Stimulus bill passes late last night in the Senate - the vote in the Senate was 60-38 and the reason for the late hour approval was they waited for Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.) to return from memorial services for his mother who had passed away. In fact, the White House arranged for a plane to fly him to D.C. and then back to Ohio in order for him to attend funeral services today. He gave passage of the bill a veto-proof measure of victory. Senator Edward Kennedy was unable to make the vote as he was in Florida receiving treatment for his brain cancer.

You wonder where the 100th vote went? Well, it wasn't cast due to no resolution to the Minnesota Senate race involving Norm Coleman (R) and Al Franken (D). The three Republican Senators to vote in favor of the bill were Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins from Maine along with Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Republican Senator Judd Gregg who just withdrew from consideration for Commerce Secretary voted against the bill.

The House vote was 246-183 with seven Democrats voting with all Republicans against passage of the Stimulus bill. So much for bipartisan spirit in Washington.... The President is expected to have a bill signing ceremony on Monday. The NY Times has more here.


Speaking of the Minnesota Senate race - yesterday, a three judge panel issued a ruling that appears will not be helpful for Republican Norm Coleman who is arguing for more rejected absentee ballots to be counted. The ruling was there had been not been a statewide problem in the counting of absentee ballots. They also provided a conservative guideline for the judges to use in determining what rejected absentee ballots should be examined. Maybe, by the end of the month Democrat Al Franken will be sworn in. has more here.


President Obama lays out ambitious agenda for the next two weeks - not slowing down, the President plans to present his plan to aid the housing crisis next Wednesday while in Phoenix, Arizona. On February 23, the President intends to hold a "fiscal responsibility" summit where social security and medicare will be discussed. The following day, Obama will give a speech to the joint session of Congress. has more here.


New fodder for Republicans to scream about - seems Representative Grace Napolitano (D-Calf.) loaned her campaign $150,000 back in 1998. Over the last ten years she has served in Congress, the campaign has paid her 18% interest on the debt amounting to $221,780 while only reducing the principle by $64,727. In 1999, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled the interest payments were allowable. Nonetheless, in this economic crisis climate, expect this issue to gain traction among Republicans. has more here.


On the foreign policy front, U.S. fired missiles from drones kill 25 militants in Pakistan - this is the third U.S. missile strike within Pakistan since Obama became President. It is being reported the killed were al-Qaeda linked militants and the location was in the South Waristan region. Pakistan has expressed outrage of the continued U.S. missile strikes within their country. has more here.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her first foreign policy speech yesterday to the Asia Society in New York - she will be leaving on her first trip as Secretary of State next week to visit Japan, China, South Korea, and Indonesia. has more here.

Special envoy to Afghanistan/ Pakistan Richard Holbrooke met with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai - the Karzai administration/U.S. relationship has been deteriorating as the Taliban has regained strength in Afghanistan. President Karzai has also expressed displeasure of U.S. military tactics which have caused civilian deaths. You can read more here.


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