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Stimulus Plan Works Its Way Through Congress

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Steve Inskeep is on assignment. President Obama is now getting a daily economic briefing along with the usual intelligence briefing. Late last week, he said the news in those economic briefings has not been good.

P: Each day brings, I think, greater focus on the problems that we're having. Not only in terms of job loss, but also in terms of some of the instabilities in the financial system.

WERTHEIMER: Mr. Obama says it's ever more urgent that Congress pass a massive spending and tax-cut package to help stimulate the economy. That legislation is before a Senate committee, and will be on the House floor this week. NPR's Andrea Seabrook has this preview.

ANDREA SEABROOK: You've heard the expression, laws are like sausages, it's better not to see them being made. Well, this bill, it's a big fat bratwurst.

P: I know that it is a heavy lift to do something as substantial as we're doing right now.

SEABROOK: President Obama, meeting with congressional leaders at the White House.

P: I recognize that there are still some differences around the table and between the administration and members of Congress about particular details on the plan.

SEABROOK: The hope is that all this money will buoy the sinking economy. But before you get too comfortable with the details, consider these words from House Republican leader John Boehner, as he was leaving the White House.

MONTAGNE: I think, at this point, we believe that spending nearly a trillion dollars is really more than what we ought to be putting on the backs of our kids and their kids. Because at the end of the day, this is not our money to spend, we're borrowing this money from our kids.

SEABROOK: But part of President Obama's idea of change has always been change in the way Washington works. Less bickering, more bi-partisanship. So in this at least, Republicans have some leverage to influence the details of this bill. And what do they want? Listen to House Minority Leader Boehner, again.

MONTAGNE: At the end of the day, a government can't solve this problem. The American people have to solve it. And the way they can solve it is if we allow them to keep more of the money that they earn.

SEABROOK: That's code for bigger tax cuts, always a main push of Republicans. So this week, as the economic stimulus bill gets hammered out in Congress, watch for all different parties to try to influence the final legislation. Republicans, Democrats, House, Senate, the Obama administration. There are a lot of cooks making this sausage. Andrea Seabrook, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Andrea Seabrook
Andrea Seabrook covers Capitol Hill as NPR's Congressional Correspondent.