Barack Obama has said that the the stimulus package must be passed by Feb. 16. Why Feb 16th he has never specifically said. What he has said is that the bill must be passed and passed now because if it isnt, the country faces an economic disaster from which the country may well never recover. According to Obama we face this impending disaster now and so action must be taken now, by Feb.16th.
The last time a President told the country we faced an imminent threat of disaster and that action had to be taken now, and then successfully pushed the Senate into taking that action because a threat was imminent, we ended up invading Iraq. The more Obama talks, the more one listens to the debate, the more you hear him being assertive one day, then backtracking the next, then sounding conciliatory, then fear mongering, the stimulus bill is starting to sound more and more like Obama's and the Democrats Iraq.
If time is of the essence with respect to passing this bill, then the bill Nancy Pelosi pushed through the House under her "leadership" was a waste of that time. A stimulus bill designed to create jobs, save homeowners from foreclosure,and free up the credit markets had no business having provisions for birth control and family planning, money for the National Endowment for the Arts,and a variety of other projects, many of which are worthy and deserve being funded but had no place in the stimulus bill.
The arrogance and stupidity of Pelosi to think, if she did, that she could stuff this bill with provisions on spending that should be voted on separately in separate appropriations bills and get away with it, is extraordinary. And if time does become a factor, the blame rests squarely on Pelosi, not the objections of most Republicans and some Democrats to things that don't belong in the bill and seem not to do enough where the most help is needed.
But not only did Pelosi wrongly think that Republicans would just roll over and go along with anything that was in the bill, she wrongly misjudged many Democrats who also support some of those added on provisions but who rightly believe they don't belong in the economic stimulus bill.
What Pelosi did with the current bill is waste people's time since most of the debate in the Senate over getting rid of those provisions could have been spent on other aspects of the bill.
It was also politically stupid to put those non stimulus provisions in the bill, because it has turned the majority of Americans against it as it stands now and further undermined Obama's credibility which is shrinking so fast Bed Bath and Beyond is now offering the Obama "Historic Moment" commemorative plate at 50% off (I'm not kidding). And he's only been in office 2 weeks. The value of that plate has detriorated faster than Citi Group stock and at about the same percentage.
Obama is insisting this massive bill has to be passed by the 16th allowing for only 5 days of conference once the Senate version passes when, as one journalist pointed out, bills involving one tenth of this amount of money have been in conference, at times up to a year, but more routinely weeks or even months. Obama's most recent assertions that the bill has to be passed now to avert an impending disaster sounds more and more like Bush's fear mongering on Iraq's impending nuclear threat and how if we waited for the weapons inspectors to find a smoking gun, the smoking gun could be in the form of a mushroom cloud (everyone remember that one?)
It seems that Obama is now trying to get his stimulus package through the Senate by trying to use the same tactics. He still has not said why this bill has to be signed into law by the 16th.
During the Presidential campaign I created a commercial which pointed out that Obama had spent more than $3 million just so he could give his acceptance speech in the Denver Bronco's football stadium instead of the Pepsi Center. And he did it at a time when the severity of the economic crisis was becoming apparent and people were losing their homes. The commercial asked if someone who would waste $3 million on giving a speech in a football stadium just as the country was slipping into a severe economic crisis could have the judgment to handle such a crisis as President or whether he would simply turn it into a political football.
Based on the same kind of "imminent threat" fear mongering we heard from Bush on Iraq being used by Obama to get a bill passed that most people think needs more time and work, it looks like football season isn't over but may just be beginning.