Senate Republicans Slam Obama Stimulus

Pundits often talk about a new president's "honeymoon." But many don't get one, and two weeks into President Obama's administration, it certainly doesn't feel like a honeymoon on the economic stimulus front, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

More than half of Americans say Congress should make big changes to the stimulus package or reject it altogether. And Republicans sense a chink in the new president's armor.

"I'm sure that democrats, or at least the president is embarrassed by some of this," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

All sides now agree the President's stimulus bill won't survive in the form passed last week by House of Representatives (with only Democrats voting in favor).

Supporters say that bill would create 3 million jobs. Detractors say it merely fulfills a long wish list of Democratic social reforms.

A CBS News analysis finds that the resident's stimulus plan balloons virtually every federal agency in terms of dollars spent: $5.5 billion more for the Department of Commerce, $9.4 billion extra for the Environmental Protection Agency, $5 billion more for Labor, $1 billion for the Census and nearly $36 billion for Agriculture.

And what about HHS, the agency Tom Daschle was slated to head before his withdrawal today? At least $21 billion for them, including $400 million for research, $60 million for environmental health, $50 million for "injury prevention" and to be distributed at the discretion of the HHS secretary.

All that has Republicans reaching for new ways to express numbers that defy imagination.

"If you took 100 dollar bills and wrapped them around the earth at the equator … It would go around the earth almost 39 times," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

The president has been friendly enough, inviting some Republicans to cocktails, lunch and a Super Bowl party, even meeting with the Republican caucus on their own turf in the Capitol.

But the charm offensive hasn't risen above the political reality: Republicans were shut out of creating what's become "The largest spending package probably ever in the history of the world," in the words of Republican Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Today, Senate Republicans began the push for what they call a simpler, more targeted stimulus bill.

It's a bout half the size of Mr. Obama's plan, much of which would be tax cuts and, they say, money that would address the mortgage crisis first.
  • Sharyl Attkisson On Twitter»

    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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