US President Barak Obama’s economic stimulus package has begun its journey through the Senate – and it could prove a rough ride. Obama needs Republican support in the upper house but their senators want more tax cuts and less direct spending.
As the debate opened, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said: “Republicans believe that a stimulus bill must fix the main problem in the economy, which is housing. We need to fix housing first. Republicans believe we must put money back into the pockets of tax payers, and we believe we must eliminate wasteful spending from this package.”
Obama is doing his best to increase backing for the 700 billion euro bill. He knows time is of the essence. At a meeting with the Republican Vice-Chairman of the National Governors’ Association he urged: “What we can’t do is let very modest differences get in the way of the overall package moving forward swiftly.”
The latest economic data from the States is not good. Obama wants to see the stimulus bill approved by Friday in order to get to work on turning the situation around as soon as possible. But with even some Democratic senators concerned about the package, he knows it is going to be a long week.