Fiscally conservative Democrats are warning party leaders that their support for multibillion-dollar economic stimulus legislation hinges on more wasteful spending being stripped from the bill.In a letter sent Thursday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), leaders of the 49-member Blue Dog Coalition said the stimulus plan stands to lose more support from their group unless spending is reined in.While a number of Blue Dogs voted against the package considered in the House, many of those who did support it did so with serious reservations, wrote the coalition leaders. Many of those who voted for it are holding out that it will be improved in the Senate and ultimately through negotiations between the chambers of Congress, together with President Obama.The Blue Dog leaders did acknowledge having some success paring back the House-passed package, but say more can and should be done. The fiscal conservatives also said they support Senate efforts to further reduce the size of its version of the bill.The letter was signed by Blue Dog Administration Co-Chairwoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), Policy Co-Chairman Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Communications Co-Chairman Charlie Melancon (D-La.) and Whip Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.