Speaker Pelosi On Obama's Role In Stimulus

House speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, Feb. 11, 2009. CBS

One of the key players in getting the stimulus deal approved is the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. CBS News anchor Katie Couric talked to her Wednesday afternoon as Senate negotiators were announcing the agreement. Couric asked her if she was surprised that President Obama was so intimately involved in the process.



Couric: Are you surprised how intimately involved he is in the whole process?

Pelosi: Quite frankly, yes. I said, "Mr. President, neither of us has time for this conversation, especially you," because we really, we understand each other. We know where we need to go.

Couric: Can you tell us anything he said to you, like get cracking?

Pelosi: No, never that. We're always cracking. But it was really a moment for us to have an appreciation that in just a little while, maybe a couple of days, we will have passed legislation that will take the country in a new direction, which will begin us down the road of recovery.

Couric: Is the devil in the details?

Pelosi: I hope the angels are, because what is in the details are how we will create those jobs, how we do it in a transparent way for the world to see, with accountability to the public, again to build jobs, build confidence, and stabilize the economy.

The bill that we passed one day, one week and one day after the president's speech, honoring the promises he made in that speech, 90 percent of that bill is contained in the Senate bill.

Couric: Is there anything in the Senate version that you think shouldn't be in the package?

Pelosi: I would like to see more of an emphasis on job creation. I don't think there's any doubt that the House bill created more jobs. But this bill will create 3.5 million jobs and three weeks ago we weren't even on this path.

Always say to my members respect it for what it does, rather than judge it for what it does not do … because this does an enormous amount. And in order for it to instill the confidence into the American people that is part of our goal, I think we have to believe in what we are doing and we believe in what we are doing.

Couric: When do you think this will come to a vote?

Pelosi: I'm hoping that it, the House will be able to vote for it Thursday or Friday, but I'm hoping for Thursday.

(CBS)
Couric: What about the Senate? Any idea?

Pelosi: Then we'll send it to the Senate. They have different rules as to how they bring legislation up, but very soon certainly meeting the goal of having the bill signed into law before Presidents Day.

When during the process, the speaker defended the House version of the stimulus package that passed without one Republican vote.

Pelosi: We had an election and it was about a direction for our country. We have strong philosophical difference in the Congress. This isn't inner-party bickering; this is major difference of opinion on philosophy, on how our country should go forward.

We reject the failed Bush Administration economic policies, which got us where we are today. The proposals that the Republicans put forth were more of the same. We will not go back.
  • Katie Couric

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