It’s hard to tell what’s happening with the stimulus bill – re-spun as the economic recovery act - this Friday afternoon, but we’re assuming it’s still possible the senate will call for a vote before midnight.
Given the recent photos of Pelosi and Obama showing her obvious infatuation with President Cool as emphasized in yesterday’s gushing assurance, “We’ve got his back,” Jane Hamsher’s declaration at Huffpo this morning is a little startling.
The story of the morning seems to be that the Obama team is unhappy with Nancy Pelosi and the House committee chairs for delivering up such a liberal, pork-laden bill that they themselves really had nothing to do with.
"Anonymous staffers" are fanning out to fuel the fiction that "during the transition Summers, his deputy Jason Furman, and the White House's top Congressional liason, Phil Schiliro, laid out the broad principles they wanted the bill to adhere to, but when it came to actual content, they deferred to the chairmen."
Hamsher goes on to say:
Except that it's not true. The Obama transition team has been working on the substance of the bill from day one. Their first step was to go to the Association of Mayors, the National Governors' Associations and other non-congressional groups and say "give us all your shovel-ready projects." That and other provisions written by the Obama team became the spine of the bill. It went through only three committee markups, and moved through the House at lightening speed in a way that made many House chairs unhappy, with the notable exception of Dave Obey (now also under attack) who helped push it through quickly.
The House bill is notable not only for its size but also because it had no earmarks, which are the lifeblood of House members, the way they show their constituents what they're doing for them. As one person knowledgable about the writing of the bill says, "if you're in the House why would you write a bill without earmarks unless you didn't write the bill?"
Hamsher gets to the really mean part here:
But with public opinion quickly turning against the bill, and the House Republicans claiming the moral high ground as they held formation to oppose him, how could Obama be distanced from responsibility for elements of the bill under GOP attack and remain above the fray? That seemed to be the locus of White House concern, and according to those familiar with what happened, the "polarizing" Nancy Pelosi was designated to take the fall.