Congress Moves on Stimulus Package, Kennedy Withdraws From N.Y. Senate Race
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JIM LEHRER: And in the other news of this day, Wall Street tumbled again, partly in response to the job cuts at Microsoft. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 105 points to close at 8,122. The Nasdaq fell 41 points to close at 1,465, a loss of more than 2.5 percent.
House Democrats made plans today to bring their economic stimulus bill to a vote next week. It includes some $550 billion in spending and another $275 billion in tax cuts.
There were growing signs of a party-line split in the House, but Speaker Pelosi insisted that’s not the way she wants it.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), Speaker of the House: Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want it to have sustainability and bipartisan support.
And the president is working hard to get that done, because it just comes down to one thing. It doesn’t come down to Democrats or Republicans; it comes down to jobs, 4 million jobs created or saved.
JIM LEHRER: President Obama planned to meet with top Republicans soon.
In the meantime, House Minority Leader Boehner said his side is being ignored.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), House Minority Leader: It appears that the House Democrats are going to continue to barrel ahead without any bipartisan support.
We’re trying to understand how their plan is really going to stimulate the economy. How is it going to create more jobs in America and preserve existing jobs in America? And so I believe that my colleagues on the Republican side need to be heard in this process.
JIM LEHRER: Pieces of the stimulus bill moved through the House committees last night and today.
The former CEO of Merrill Lynch, John Thain, resigned under fire today from his new position at Bank of America. It followed reports Merrill paid out executive bonuses in December. That was one month early and days before the sale to Bank of America became final.
Since then, Merrill reported losing more than $15 billion in the fourth quarter. As a result, Bank of America got an extra $20 billion in federal rescue funds.
Caroline Kennedy today ended her quest for the New York Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. A one-sentence statement cited personal reasons for withdrawing from consideration. Kennedy also faced criticism about her lack of experience. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and others have been considered for the Senate appointment, as well. New York’s governor will announce his choice tomorrow.