Updates: The Senate vote is at 5:30 p.m. ET on C-Span2.

Breaking News via WaPo: Stimulus Bill Clears Procedural Hurdle in Senate : “Senate votes to move forward on a compromise version of the bill crafted last week to attract a handful of GOP votes. Even if the Senate approves the measure in a subsequent vote, it has to be reconciled with a bill passed earlier by the House.” (Yeah, Nancy is really good at reconciling.)

SEE ALSO, via Bloomberg: “U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailout Programs (Update1)”: ” The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.”

(This makes my head hurt.)

*******************************************

What country is that you’re president of, Barack? “An America”?

Now for the serious stuff, where Obama is telling the American people a flat-out lie about oversight of this stimulus package. Yeah, there’ll be as much oversight as there was of millions and millions of Illinois taxpayers’ money going to his cronies Tony Rezko and the father/son robber baron duo, Allison and Cullin Davis:

Thanks to a smart, but little-noticed article done by NPR, we know that that is NOT true. The only oversight of money given to states will occur when it is TOO LATE. As the NPR article below notes:

The bill does make it possible for lawmakers and the public to track the money — but only after it’s spent.

A hell of a lot of good that will do! Why? Because, even though Obama brags that his bill doesn’t have “a single earmark in it,” that’s precisely the problem. YES! Earmarks can be, and often are, a GOOD thing, because they pre-determine HOW the money will be spent with members of Congress conferring with their state’s local leaders for which projects are most needed.

I don’t know about you and your situation, but I trust my Congressman — a true public servant with extensive experience and a great position on the all-important Appropriations Committee — to do the right thing when he seeks an “earmark” for our area. And I trust my Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

I’ve never heard a word of complaint — ever — by anyone who lives in this area about the projects that bring this area jobs, money, and opportunities, as well as the kinds of projects that yield long-term benefits to all citizens.

All three (my congressman and the two senators) go over the area’s major needs with our county commissioners, elected city officials and local leaders, and also look longterm at which projects will yield the “most bang for the buck.” Right now, through their earmarks, they’re replacing four dangerous bridges, building a new transit center that greatly improves the look and tourist attractions of the downtown area, and building a vocational training center. ALL PORK IS NOT BAD. Because if it’s done right, it helps the communities that need it the most.

OF NOTE in the article below: “NPR quotes Rep. David Obey: “House Appropriations Chairman on Stimulus Waste: ‘So What’… ”

From NPR:

When congressional leaders began to assemble the mammoth economic stimulus bill, top Democrats and the Obama administration decided that there would be no earmarks: no “special projects,” no pork-barrel spending. In so doing, they gave up some control over how the money is spent, leaving the decision to public servants around the country.

Someone has to decide how money gets spent. It’s either going to be Congress or the executive branch or states or municipalities,” says Fred Wertheimer of the congressional watchdog group Democracy 21.

Lawmakers had good reasons for stripping earmarks from the bill, Wertheimer says, because “they are simply going to become huge targets for attacking the credibility of the package, and they may very well end up as abusive earmarks.” [BUT IS THAT TARGETING THE RIGHT PLACE FOR OUR ANGER???]

It was a wise political decision, he says. But pulling earmarks out of the bill changes the balance of power in the government. If members of Congress aren’t writing into the bill how the money will be spent, then someone else must make those decisions — or, in this case, a lot of people.

“Because there is so much money here, and in so many different forms, there is no single pathway for the money to go out to states and localities,” says Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution.

‘This Is An Emergency’

When this bill passes, a Niagara Falls of money will flow out of Washington and into the accounts of state highway commissioners, governors and legislatures, local school boards, county executives — even mayors, Binder says.

“It raises a whole host of questions about how efficiently money can be spent, how effectively it will be spent, how quickly money can be spent, just because there’s no set process here for determining how money will get out the door to create jobs or, as the president said, to save jobs,” she says.

U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn’t like being asked about earmarks.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” he says. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important question facing us on putting together this package.”

Leaving out the earmarks does mean Congress will have less control over how the money is spent. But, Obey says, “So what? This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

That doesn’t mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

“The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. We are simply trying to build as many protections in as possible,” Obey says. “We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

How To Avoid Disappointment?

As it stands now, says David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general, the bill appears to have no mechanism for directing spending. It’s left up to those state and local officials, who may or may not have the ideas or the means to spend it appropriately. And that will lead to “a series of disappointments that it’s too late to do anything about,” Walker says.

The bill does make it possible for lawmakers and the public to track the money — but only after it’s spent. And that, he says, will lead to bad surprises.

Take, for example, the giant bank bailout known as TARP. That spending has gone all wrong, Walker says. Though the inspector general and the Government Accountability Office are keeping track of the billions spent there, “they’re basically reporting on what didn’t happen,” he says.

“Well, it’s a little bit late,” he says. “And so the question is, what are you going to do on a prospective basis? I mean, you can’t change history. What are you going to do on a prospective basis to minimize the possibility of being disappointed again?”

ALSO:

I was browsing through CNN’s videos and, lo and behold, ran across this video. This is fascinating: Men are experiencing 7.6% unemployment, but women are hit by 6.2% unemployment.

But I wonder about those stats. Far more women tend to need to work part-time jobs, and I bet the loss of those jobs isn’t reflected in these stats.

What say you?

  • AlexisM

    Obama lied? Pshaw. Say it isn’t so.

    ROFLMAO

  • It is absolutely creepy to me that Obama has to go on the campaign trail to sell a stimulus bill that is BAD. He should not be trying to sell it to us. He should be LISTENING to us.

    What an ass. He is turning out to be worse than expected.

  • sandi78

    So long as it doesn’t mess up Survivor or The Amazing Race I’m OK with it. More live comedy on tv might be good thing.

    Have you noticed how he’s moved from using ‘our’ and ‘we’ all the time to using ‘I’ and ‘my’?

  • I’m a Linda too

    Obama’s Appearances Cost Networks
    The Washington Post
    President Obama’s desire to talk to the American public could cost broadcast networks millions of prime-time TV dollars. Broadcasters are bracing themselves for the likelihood of three prime-time interruptions in three weeks, totaling a loss of at least three hours of prime ad breaks. “His economic stimulus package apparently does not extend to the TV networks,” one network exec notes.

    The president’s news conference today is expected to eat up the first hour of prime time; costing broadcasters more than $9 million in lost ad revenue. Obama’s also mulling a shorter prime-time appearance Feb. 16, and on Feb. 24, he will give the equivalent of a two-hour State of the Union speech.

    Monday preemptions are particularly problematic for broadcasters, since they are one of the most competitive nights this season. Today, for instance, to accommodate Obama, Fox will have to pull an original episode of its popular “House.” Price tag: about $3 million. Broadcasters worry that this approach to prime-time preempting might be part of an Obama strategy to charm his way to a new economic-rescue plan. “Is this what it’s going to be: Is he going to take to the airwaves every time he has something to say?” says one. –
    Read the whole story…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/05/AR2009020503599.html

    • oowawa

      I’m so sad to hear the big broadcasters are going to be losing money with O’s frequent forays into prime time. Ain’t it a tragedy? Okay, all together now,

      BOO-HOO-HOO!

      • Peggy Sue

        I’ll second that, BOO-HOO, oowawa. And why is Barack Obama flooding the airways? Because despite the tweaked numbers at MSNBC, the poll numbers coming into the WH are bad, really bad on this miserable package.

        The MSM has no room to complain about revenues and inconvenience.

        That’s what happens when you sell your soul for a swansong.

        BOO-HOO-HOO.

    • Oh man, not HOUSE – yet another reason to dislike Obama!

  • sandi78

    The press conference is on and he has just said this bill wil create over 4 million jobs. That’s right, 4 (FOUR). Not the 2 or 3 he’s promised up to now, but FOUR million. It does not contain a single “pet project”. And he said that with a straight, serious face. And the rest is scare tactics.

    • beebop

      At one time we had a media that might have pointed out the inconsistencies … sadly, that is no longer the case.

      • I’m a Linda too

        no truer words have been spoken.

  • cali

    Obama IS a big, fat fib.

  • cynic

    The bill does make it possible for lawmakers and the public to track the money — but only after it’s spent.

    That’s a big improvement over past practices. (Remember the reports of US currency being unloaded off a helicopter in Iraq and distributed without any records being kept? Or all of the vanished FEMA funds after Katrina? Some claims were traced to prison telephones later.)

    Being able to track after the fact allows for accountability. That helps keep people honest.

    I’m a bit unclear on the concept of tracking a bear before it goes into the woods.

  • Peggy Sue

    It makes my head hurt and my heart ache. Our “representatives” have signed our soul and future away.

    There’s nothing Barack Obama could say to make me think this bloated, unfocused bill will work. We have to do “something” the argument goes. And so, the US Congress decides to do “anything” to convince us they’re doing the people’s business, in our best interest.

    BS! This is no better than the Bernie Madoff fraud.

    A pox on both their Houses. We’ve just been pimped out, as have our children.

    I will never forgive the Democratic Party for this. Ever! Start stockpiling food stuffs. Hyper-inflation is just around the corner. Morons!!

    • cynic

      After 20 years of record deficits by Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2, why have republicans suddenly seen the light and gotten religion about fiscal responsibility? Obama’s in a situation where nothing can be done without borrowing. That wasn’t true of his predecessors.

      • beebop

        Sure there is … quit paying off your debts in the first month … appoint your fund raisers to office as Republicans do instead of selling the country out …. just a thought.

      • Peggy Sue

        Borrowing on top of borrowing, debt to solve a debt problem. This makes no sense in a rational world. It’s window dressing at best to make us think they’re doing something.

        Are the Republicans responsible? Of course. As are the Democrats. This problem has been going on for decades and decades. Read the God damn history. We’re not living in a closed economic system anymore; the old equations won’t work.

        Obama, the Lightgiver, has no juice, no new creative ideas. Just the same old tired “throw the jello at the wall.”

        Except now we’re at the edge of the cliff. Pointing fingers won’t save us. And neither will this unfocused bill. Or another TARP bailout to the tune of 2-4 trillion dollars.

        And btw, I’m a lifelong Dem. But they’ll never get my straight vote again. Of course, that may all be moot.

        Hustle into your parachute. We’re ready to get thrown into wide, wide space. And we’ll all be sucking for oxygen together.

        This is positively delusional.

  • KmX

    I support the President NOT his policies!!!

    • beebop

      Is that a snark? I sure hope so. Even the Westminster Dog Show can’t help my blood pressure if you are serious!

    • FLDemFem

      And the difference would be what?? A President IS his policies, such as they are. If you don’t support his policies, you don’t support him.

  • getfitnow

    Women lower unemployment figure because of employment in the health care industry. Apparently there is a shortage of nurses.

    • FLDemFem

      And if you have two employees doing essentially the same job, and one is a man who makes more than the other who is a woman, guess which one you cut? The one that makes more money. So the man gets the pink slip and the woman gets to keep working. Who would have thought that getting a lower salary might one day save your job?

  • ces

    Is it just me or is it really creepy that in talking about the economic health of our country, he still has to have a hand-picked crowd in the background?

    He just seems like the most nightmare-ish used car salesman the world has ever seen.

    37% public approval of the bacon bill, and he’s still on the campaign trail.

    • Just like GWB — always had hand picked crowds.

      He is so immature — and not playing with a full deck.

  • StinkyStimmy

    I read this today:
    Our national debt is so huge that if every American who lives now had paid $1000/mo. since Jesus was born – it STILL would not be paid off.

    • cynic

      At the sound of the tone, the current national be: $10,728,077,097,742.82

      “The estimated population of the United States is 305,618,137, so each citizen’s share of this debt is $35,102.88“.

      http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

      • cynic

        Oops.

        “…the current national debt will be…”

  • What happens when China says NO that we are already over our credit limit, and that we have not made our minimun payment?

    What is the minimum payment on 890 billion?

  • lark

    The left is going to be very happy with PITO. His bankrupting the government will work wonders for prisoners. No longer will they need to fulfill their full sentences.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090209/D968C2K05.html

    Judges tentatively order Calif. inmates released

    • oowawa

      Is CA the canary in the coal mine? Yep–less dangerous prison inmates will be released. Non-essential state workers will start working four days a week, like it or not. What’s next? Well, more painful stuff no doubt, like closing down kindergartens and increasing class sizes. This is going to get ugly real fast.

  • Babs

    Watching a clip of Obama in Indiana today, I have come to the conclusion that very simply the man is addicted to adulation. He was “restless” after less than 3 weeks in the White House, per Gibbs, and no wonder – no adoring crowds, no “inspiring” speeches for the media to swoon over, no applause and fainting women. Why, poor Barack is just destined to be the eternal campaigner. Unfortunately, this country needs a leader.

    • oowawa

      poor Barack is just destined to be the eternal campaigner

      It is fortunate for the poets of the future that “campaign” rhymes with “champagne,” destined to become the two salient features of the O presidency.

  • jwrjr

    The BHO administration says that there will be no mork in the “stimulus” bill. Who do they think that they are fooling (other than themselves)? It’s ALL pork.

    • jwrjr

      “Pork”, not “mork”. Obviously.

      • oowawa

        No–“mork” was correct. It’s a combination of “pork” and “murk.” Just right.

        • FLDemFem

          Nanoo nanoo! Sorry, couldn’t resist. Heh.

    • Winston

      As long as there is some Mindy I happy.

  • grayslady

    Over at Thomas, the Library of Congress, there’s some interesting reading on all the amendments to the “stimulus package”. Russ Feingold proposed an amendment that would prohibit earmarks from being included in the package. Byron Dorgan and about 25 Rep. Senators were the only ones to vote in favor of the amendment. Vitter (the diaper king) proposed an amendment to strip out ACORN as a recipient of stimulus funds. Only Reps. voted for that one. Then you get Mel Martinez trying to add an amendment that would have legislatively voided Obama’s recent executive order regarding funding for overseas organizations that provide birth control assistance and information. Is anyone but the taxpaying public taking this seriously?

    • sowsear

      I had an e-mail tonight from my nearly 90 yr. old uncle in CA. He and his wife are upset because they have read a portion of the bill relating to Medicare where it suggests that people his age will get little or no medical intervention. He says they are suggesting that if old folks are sick, they should just “get over it”.

      • oowawa

        He says they are suggesting that if old folks are sick, they should just “get over it”.

        Problem is, there aren’t any good ways to “get over” what’s left of life. Maybe if we had some attractive “retirement centers” where the “old and in the way” could go to have a last super-duper cocktail and watch a final pleasant travel film on a big-screen, like in Soylent Green. Times like these call for compassionate innovative solutions.

        • obamastolemyboyfriend

          Obama did wantg to go green! He just left out the soylent part!

  • ChooChooMagoo

    Susan – Great post and great points presented for consideration.

    Re: oversight -When you leave the barn door open so the cattle can escape, there is little gained by having someone counting the number of horses and cow as they go out the door.

    Re: Slightly more Men losing jobs than Women. Most of the hardest hit industries are predominately male employers – construction, manufacturing, etc.

    • ChooChooMagoo

      Susan – Great post and great points presented for consideration.

      Re: oversight -When you leave the barn door open so the cattle can escape, there is little gained by having someone counting the number of horses and cow as they go out the door.

      Re: Slightly more Men losing jobs than Women. Most of the hardest hit industries are that predominately employ males – construction, manufacturing, etc.

  • Winston

    He knows not what he has just awakened. We will oppose him in every possible way. He is not my president and his grace period has just ended. Now its time to really turn up the heat. I think I just became a Machiavellian.

    • oowawa

      LOL Winston, if you’ve been allowing him a “grace period” up to this point, I can’t wait to watch your rhetoric in the days ahead now that his grace time has run out. Should be fun!

    • beebop

      The email traffic must be slowing down. I got through to my senators both quite easily … hinting ….

  • Honora

    Sorry Susan but I would run in front of a moving freight train, before I would voluntarily listen to 15 minutes of Ofraud. I am sure that it proves your point though.

  • Docelder

    Oversight after the fact will be of little use. I am not sure anybody believed there would be money for a second stimulus package… else they would have just asked for more the first time around. That way they could blame the whole mess on Bush for eternity. But, the far left underestimates capitalism and our economic engine. They left half the money on the table last time around. Let nobody believe that this round of money will bring us anything the first round didn’t bring us. Don’t expect any of your neighbors to save their home or anything. The banks already have plans for those homes and assets they are buying up. Letting the little people keep any of them is not part of the plan… sorry to say. And jobs? Well expect the same return in jobs for us that Chicago got. How many jobs were created in Chicago in all the years Obama was their state senator? Just extrapolate that number to the nation as a whole. We don’t need a crystal ball… Just a calculator.

  • barry bums a ciggie

    Is he still campaigning? Me thinks he’s going to spend his first 100 days doing town hall speeches to bamboozle the American people…the jigs up barack.

    • beebop

      Did you see him dance when the young girl asked him about the tax cheats? It was so Bushesque! A no answer answer worthy of Rove.

  • candymarl

    The bill has passed the Senate. So the point is moot.

    • beebop

      Nope. They still have to reconcile the two versions. The house believes that they are in the driver’s seat. So. Anticipate a pissing contest.