Congress approves Omnibus spending bill

March 10, 2009 7:09:46 PM PDT
After nearly a week long delay, the Senate passed the $410 billion Omnibus Spending Bill. The fight over $7 billion in ear-marks galvanized Republican opposition and created fractures among the Democrats. This bill was supposed to sail though Congress and instead it gave Republicans a platform.

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In the fight over the Omnibus Appropriations spending bill, California Senator Barbara Boxer gave an impassioned plea.

"The people need our help the help that's offered in this bill," said Sen. Boxer.

But the 8,000 plus earmarks in the bill were an easy target for Republicans.

"This evil has grown and it has grown, and it has grown to the point that we have nearly 9,000," said Sen. John McCain (R) Arizona.

And the fight over the spending bill has helped focus attention on other spending programs.

"Since $630 billion is the down payment for health care reform how much more will you need?" said Sen. Jim Bunning (R) Kentucky.

Senator Bunning quizzed the president's Budget Director on the cost of the president's health care proposals.

"I can't give you a precise estimate because the plans vary," said White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.

The truth is, the White House can't give a bottom line for much of what the president is proposing.

"Right now, we don't know how much it's going to cost to really stimulate the economy in terms of spending. We don't know how much it's going to cost to bail out the banks, AIG, for example we keep giving more and more money too," said UC Berkeley Professor Henry Brady Ph.D.

Brady says we don't even know if all the government spending will work and that uncertainty helps push down the market -- which adds to the uncertainty and makes it harder for the president to get his programs passed.

"Obama got a pass on the stimulus bill, but it's not clear he's going to get a pass on much else from now one and he's put a lot on the table," said Brady Ph.D.

Which brings us to the word of the day.

"The word of the day is a word that is important to our economy everyday and that word is confidence," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi and Democrats on Capitol Hill are hoping to reverse the downward spiral through government spending, which they hope will create demand and instill confidence.

"It's clear we have to stabilize our financial institutions, we have to invest in a stimulus plan to grow our economy, we have to regulate our financial institutions and we have to end the housing crisis and the Obama administration has already done just that," said Pelosi.

The Obama administration has tackled those challenges and the speaker is confident, but it's how the rest of the country feels that matters.

  • Complete list of programs funded by Omnibus bill

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