Democrats Dismiss Charges of Partisanship

Posted January 29, 2009 at 2:33pm

A day after passing an $819 billion economic stimulus bill without a single Republican vote, House Democratic leaders rejected GOP charges that they were too partisan in crafting the package. “Listen, we didn’t come here to be, I didn’t come here to be partisan,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “I didn’t come here to be bipartisan. I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest.” Democrats reached out to Republicans “all along the way. And they know it,” argued Pelosi. The real reason GOP Members didn’t support the bill is because they don’t believe in the Democratic agenda and “probably voted their conscience,” she said. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also dismissed the GOP argument that the bill contains too much spending. “I say poppycock,” he said on MSNBC. “I think that what we’ve done here is put together a pretty balanced program. We have a lot of tax cuts here.” Clyburn said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who urged his Conference to oppose the stimulus bill, is “a good guy” but doesn’t understand what is needed to kick-start the ailing economy. “Boehner’s not an economist. He’s not listening to the experts,” Clyburn said. Republicans voted the way they did because they were “playing to the base. This is what — listening to political hacks and to other blowhards, rather than listening to the experts.” While some saw the vote as a defeat for President Barack Obama, who had been lobbying hard for a strong bipartisan vote on the package, others disagreed. “Absolutely not,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said on CNBC. “I think that this showed that the president was true to his word. He reached out to Republicans.” The problem is that Republicans “rejected him,” Waters said. “And it’s so unfortunate because when he campaigned, he talked about getting rid of the pure politics, coming together and working together for Americans.” Waters said she was “so surprised” by the Republican opposition given that Obama met with GOP lawmakers and “they all said they liked him, that he made a great presentation, and then to turn their backs.”