After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway.
Obama arrived at his home in Chicago on Friday, and treated wife Michelle to a Valentine’s Day dinner downtown last night. The couple was spotted leaving upscale Table Fifty-Two, which specializes in Southern cuisine, with the first lady toting what appeared to be a doggie bag.
By Brendan Scott and Ana Maria Alaya
The New York Post
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama depart “Table 52” restaurant after enjoying a Valentine’s Day dinner together in Chicago February 14, 2009.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES)
The president plans to spend the Presidents’ Day weekend in the Windy City, and is not expected to sign the bill until Tuesday, when he travels to Denver to discuss his economic plan.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill Friday night.
The push to get the bill through before the holiday weekend was so frantic, members of Congress didn’t have a chance to read all 1,071 pages of the document before they could vote.
“In a perfect world it would have been nice to have had more time to process it,” said Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
Meanwhile, Gov. Paterson called yesterday for fiscal restraint with the massive influx of federal aid. His budget office estimated that New York will receive $24.6 billion over the next two years, $4 billion more than first believed.
Why The Rush, Really?
“The longer a piece of garbage lays out in the sun the worse it stinks,” said Republican Representative John Culberson (R-TX), refeering to the Obama stimulus. “That’s why the bill was hidden and kept off the Internet.”
“This is a crime of deceit put upon the American people,” he said.
“This bill was intentionally hidden from lawmakers and the public.”
“This is one of the largest outrages ever committed,” said.
“Nobody read this bill before it was passed,” he said.