Monday, February 9, 2009

Black Politics: Barack Obama Needs Support for Stimulus

President Barack Obama faces a barrage of questions on his plans to reinvigorate the economy with a massive stimulus bill and additional billions in bailout money for the financial markets.

Trips Monday and Tuesday to cities hurting under the economic meltdown and a prime-time news conference Monday night show that Obama and his advisers are worried about a looming Senate vote on the stimulus bill, which failed to gather meaningful Republican support during rare weekend debate. The question-and-answer sessions with citizens and later with news reporters will allow Obama to appeal directly for grass-roots backing of his plans.

Both trips were added to Obama's schedule as difficulties with the legislation on Capitol Hill increased. Originally, aides had insisted his time would be better spent in Washington to shepherd the bill rather than traveling the more traditional presidential route around the country, pressuring lawmakers from his bully pulpit.

The $827 billion Senate version of the plan was expected to pass the Senate on Tuesday. However, it must be reconciled with the House version, which totaled $820 billion in spending and tax cuts. With Senate and House negotiators preparing to deal, Obama is likely to push for a bill on his desk for his signature by mid-month.


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