Obama Meets With Congressional Leaders Over Economic Stimulus
President-elect Barack Obama on Monday met with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to discuss an economic stimulus package that includes funds for health care programs, the Chicago Tribune reports (Puzzanghera/Parsons, Chicago Tribune, 1/6).
During multiple meetings, Obama met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other congressional leaders (Schatz/Clarke, CQ Today, 1/5).
Details of Expected Stimulus Plan
According to Reid, Obama "has indicated that there's at least 20 economists that he's talked with, and all but one of those believe" that the stimulus package "should be from $800 billion to $1.2 or $1.3 trillion" over two years (Sanchez, CongressDaily, 1/6).
"Key details" of the package "remain unresolved," but the legislation likely will include a number of health care provisions, the Washington Post reports (Kane et al., Washington Post, 1/6).
The stimulus package likely will include about $200 billion to temporarily increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for state Medicaid programs, according to congressional aides (Elliott, AP/Detroit News, 1/5).
In addition, Obama and congressional leaders hope to include a provision to expand health and unemployment benefits for workers, as well as a measure to allow those who lose jobs that did not include health insurance to apply for Medicaid (Zeleny/Herszenhorn, New York TimesÂ graphic, 1/6).
Senate Democrats also hope to include additional funds for community health centers, health care information technology, medical research and prevention programs, according to a Democratic aide.
"Democrats see the stimulus plan as an opportunity to make early progress on the larger health care overhaul they intend to pursue later this year," the Boston Globe reports (Williams, Boston Globe, 1/6).
Obama said that he expects to sign the stimulus package into law by the end of January or the first of February (Hurst, AP/Detroit News, 1/6).
Republican congressional leaders said that Congress might not pass a stimulus package for six weeks (Ward/Miller, Washington Times, 1/6). Â
"Despite Obama's active courtship of Republicans, ... he still faces obstacles to getting both fast and broadly bipartisan support for his plan," according to the Tribune (Chicago Tribune, 1/6). Republicans remain "wary of expanding entitlement programs such as Medicaid" (Cohn, CongressDaily, 1/6).
However, the large tax cut for the middle class that Obama has proposed to include in the stimulus package "could help the package's chances," according to the Detroit Free Press (Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 1/5).
Some Democrats also disagree with Obama about the details of the stimulus package, and although most Democrats "are likely to give Obama what he seeks in his first major legislative initiative," the "fighting over the details could take weeks," the Globe reports (Kranish, Boston Globe, 1/6).
Obama on Thursday plans to deliver a speech in which he will provide additional details about the stimulus package (Weisman/Hitt, Wall Street Journal, 1/6).
- American Public Media's "Marketplace" on Monday reported on the stimulus package (Ryssdal, "Marketplace," American Public Media, 1/5).
- ABC's "World News Tonight" on Monday examined possible provisions in the stimulus package (Tapper, "World News Tonight," ABC, 1/5).
- NPR's "Morning Edition" on Tuesday reported on the meetings between Obama and congressional leaders on the stimulus package (Horsley, "Morning Edition," NPR, 1/6).