POLITICS
03/04/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Stimulus Heads To The Senate

On Monday morning, Obama will meet with Democratic Congressional leaders to hash out strategy as the stimulus package heads to the Senate, where the bill is expected to be heatedly debated.

On Sunday, Obama expressed confidence that there would be a more bipartisan result in the Senate, after last week's vote in the House, in which not a single Republican voted for the bill.

Yet Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his doubts over the weekend, saying that the bill still required major changes.

Reuters reports on Obama's meeting scheduled for Monday:

Facing opposition from Republican lawmakers to parts of his economic recovery plan, President Barack Obama called Democratic Congressional leaders to a meeting on Monday to drive home his message of urgency.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are due to meet House and Senate Democratic leaders at the White House on Monday. A Democratic Senate aide said Obama had called the meeting to discuss the next steps on the stimulus bill. Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the president and Democratic leaders would be discussing their legislative agenda for the next few months.

They face a stiff challenge - McConnell suggested on Sunday that the bill needed a major overhaul since it doesn't consist of enough tax cuts and allows Democrats to spend money with abandon:

The AP reports:

WASHINGTON - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday the massive stimulus bill backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could go down to defeat if it's not stripped of unnecessary spending and focused more on housing issues and tax cut.

"I think it may be time ... for the president to kind of get a hold of these Democrats in the Senate and the House, who have rather significant majorities, and shake them a little bit and say, 'Look, let's do this the right way,'" McConnell said. "I can't believe that the president isn't embarrassed about the products that have been produced so far."

McConnell's sentiments, along with some criticism from Democratic senators, indicates that it won't be easy to win over the chamber, reports the FInancial Times:

Mr McConnell's comments - together with those of other senior Senate Republicans - indicate that the stimulus bill is likely to face serious wrangling when debate begins today.

Some Democratic senators have also expressed unease at parts of the plan - which then stood at $819bn - the House agreed last week, including earmarks for particular spending projects. The Democrats lack the 60 votes that would enable them to overcome any threat of a Republican filibuster in the 100-member Senate as they did in the House.

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