Sen. Snowe: Stimulus Must Be Slimmed Down

(CBS)
On today's edition of CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged," Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe told CBS News' Bob Schieffer that a "range" of items must be removed from the stimulus bill before she would consider voting for it.

Snowe cited funding for the national park service, the census bureau, cleaning up abandoned mines and providing funding for the US Marshals service, among other items.

"I mean, the list goes on," she said. "Those are issues that otherwise should be an appropriate part of the budget process and the annual review but not incorporated in the stimulus package that will do little to ignite economic activity."

Snowe noted that she is "supportive of a stimulus package" under the right conditions. Along with Sen. Susan Collins, Snowe, a moderate, is seen as the Republican most likely to support the bill and help Senate Democrats achieve the 60-vote block they need to avoid a Republican filibuster.

"I want to vote for a package," she said. "I think we are close to being able to do that with some changes, because at the end the worst mistake we could make is to pass a package that has virtually no impact on the economy."

She also discussed her meeting with President Obama Wednesday to discuss the bill.

"Well it was very informal," said Snowe. "It was just actually the two of us. I think that is the first time I have ever been in the Oval Office with just the president – he had no staff present. We had a very informal conversation. He is very approachable. It was easy to discuss the issues."

"He was just making his points about how important it was to pass this package in a timely fashion," she continued. "He understood that there were concerns, he wanted to know what they were."

"So it was sort of laid back, and he's very easy to talk to in that sense and cordial," she said.

Watch the full, fifteen-minute episode of "Washington Unplugged" below. It also includes an interview with Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad from North Dakota as well as a roundtable with CBS News Chief Political Consultant Marc Ambinder and Politico.com White House reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.