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Congress Challenging Obama on Stimulus Plan

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Apparently, Congress isn’t just going to pass whatever economic stimulus ideas President-elect Obama requests. Already, there’s opposition brewing from both sides of the aisle.

Republicans, in a sudden burst of fiscal responsibility, are worried about tacking on even more spending to what is projected to be a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit in 2009. Some Democrats are complaining about the size and nature of Obama’s planned tax cuts. The $3000 tax break for job creation received a particularly negative responsive as many lawmakers don’t believe such a break will motivate businesses to hire employees they don’t otherwise need.

The good news for Obama is that there is wide support for passing some form of stimulus package. Congress always wants to put their own mark on bills and the current grumblings are likely nothing more than a combination of truly constructive criticism and the usual boundary testing.

The challenge for our new president and his administration is navigating the legislative process so the bill that comes out is not the usual pork-laden mess but actually contains useful provisions. What Obama is willing to concede on and what he will fight for will tell us a lot about what kind of President he will be. Will he be too willing to make bad compromises for the sake of expediency? Will he be too obstinate and cause the bill to die before it makes it to a vote?

My suspicion is, if Obama stumbles on this stimulus, he will err on the side of compromising too much and allowing the bill to be too watered down and too overgrown with earmarks. We’ll see. It should be interesting to watch.