Castor, Meek come out fighting for Obama stimulus plan
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02/09/09 Mitch E. Perry
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As the economic stimulus bill is poised to be voted on in the Senate tomorrow, President Obama and Congressional Democrats today came out on the offensive in arguing for the merits of the bill. It comes after Republicans have controlled the tone of the debate, if not the actual votes, in the past week.

Obama makes a trip to Southwest Florida tomorrow, to Fort Myers, one of the hardest hit counties in the country when it comes to foreclosures.

And House Democrats, who have been missing in action as the debate on the stimulus bill has dominated Washington, D.C., spoke with the press today.

Politico.com reported that at the Democratic Party retreat in Virginia last week, South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wassewrman Schultz asked if the White House could do a better job coordinating its message with party leaders on Capitol Hill.

Kathy Castor represents Tampa and other parts of the bay area in Congress. Castor says there are good things in the bill that will help all Floridians.

Miami area Congressman Kendrick Meek said his party has been in slow motion in reacting to Republican complaints of pork.

This weekend, political analysts attempted to explain how a just elected popular president has lost momentum on selling his first major piece of legislation only three weeks into his tenure. Some critics blame House Democrats, such as Wisconsin’s David Obey and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying they placed some pet projects in the bill that are hard to justify as stimulus.

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein told Politico that her advice for the administration is that the next time they should write the bill, and "not leave it to the disparate odds and ends of Congress.”

But Castor resents insinuations that the bill has been concocted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Over the weekend, there were long discussions to craft together a bill that the Senate will vote on Tuesday. It cut $80 billion from the House version, which includes aid to the unemployed and food stamps. Spending on school construction has also been cut.

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