President Obama and his advisers worked through the weekend trying to convince lawmakers to support his economic stimulus plan. The president wants to see the $825 billion package on his desk by the middle of next month, but the proposal faces a rocky ride on Capitol Hill.
Continuing the Obama administration's public relations blitz touting the stimulus package on Sunday, top adviser Lawrence Summers ticked off positives about the recovery plan in an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press. First, he said, President Obama's proposal had bipartisan input from Democrats and Republicans.
"Frankly, some of them think the stimulus should be larger, some of them think the stimulus should be smaller. The president balanced different views," he said.
The $825 billion package focuses two-thirds on new government spending and the rest on tax cuts. Summers says the government can afford to spend the money to revive a faltering economy.
"It's balanced between very substantial new investments that I referred to — between very important investments to prevent teachers and cops from being laid off. And also — this is a very important part of the package — tax cuts," he said.
But tax cuts are a point of concern for both parties. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told ABC's This Week that spending, historically, does more to stimulate the economy than tax cuts.
"Economists have told us from right to left there is more bang for the buck — the term they use — by investing in food stamps and unemployment insurance than in tax cuts. Nonetheless, we are committed to the tax cuts."
Republican Sen. John McCain disagrees with the Obama administration's plan to allow tax cuts for the wealthy passed under former President George W. Bush to expire, telling Fox News Sunday, "We need to make tax cuts permanent. We need to make a commitment there will be no new taxes. We need to cut payroll taxes. We need to cut business taxes."
McCain and House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio say their party isn't likely to support the plan without major revisions. Boehner told Meet the Press he has issues with some of the spending contained in the bill.
"Two hundred million dollars to fix up the National Mall, $21 million for sod, over $200 million for contraceptives — how is this going to fix an ailing economy?"
Boehner says he cannot support the bill as it stands today.
"Right now — given the concerns we have over the size of this package and all of the spending in this package — we don't think it's going to work."
President Obama will make the case himself when he visits Capitol Hill this week.