With Big Issues Ahead, Democrats Stumble

The Republican-led blockade of overdue spending bills in the Senate is providing Congressional Democrats a quick and humbling lesson in the limits of their new power.
By Carl Hulse
The New York Times
Despite significant electoral gains in both the House and the Senate, the Democrats have been stymied by Republicans and a few Democratic defectors in what began as a fairly routine push to enact the leftover measures, needed to finance spending in the current fiscal year and tethered together into one $410 billion catchall bill.

As a result, Congress had to pass an emergency five-day stopgap on Friday to prevent an embarrassing shutdown of the government in the opening weeks of the Obama administration.

The failure left Democrats fretting about how they would perform when dealing with more contentious and complex legislation sought by President Obama on health care, energy, taxes and education.

“What does this mean for the Obama agenda?” said the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York. “We need to get this straightened out.”

Republicans and others said some Democrats were clearly experiencing sticker shock over the combined costs of the new Democratic agenda, with the $410 billion measure coming on the heels of the $787 billion economic stimulus and just ahead of the $3.6 trillion budget for 2010 and money this year for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Right now Democratic leaders look like they are getting dizzy from all the dollars they think they have to throw around,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, a principal foe of the joined spending bills.

Read the rest:

Nancy Pelosi and her team engineered the stimul bill.  Now it is said they will create the health care reform measure: causing worry for many on the Hill…

In this Feb. 23, 2009 file photo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ...
In this Feb. 23, 2009 file photo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pelosi didn’t lose her temper but she unleashed a bit of sarcasm this week when someone suggested, yet again, that she’s a thorn in President Barack Obama’s side. ‘Let me get this straight,’ the California Democrat said archly, to a group of liberal bloggers who had asked her about unattributed reports that the White House thought the $787 billion stimulus bill might have won a few House Republicans’ votes if Pelosi had not moved it so quickly.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

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