Congressional leaders got their meeting with President Obama Friday. During that meeting, Obama stressed the need for speed.
"The news has not been good," Obama said. "Each day brings, I think, greater focus on the problems that we're having not only in terms of job loss, but also in terms of some of the instabilities in the financial system."
Leaders renewed their pledge to pursue both speed and bipartisanship as they work to send to the President's desk a massive economic stimulus package by mid-February.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., said the administration strikes him as open to their suggestions. Still, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has criticized House Democrats for not involving Republicans more directly as they drafted a stimulus bill, remained cool to the emerging package.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said former CBO Director Peter Orszag, now the White House budget director, explained that the CBO examined only 40% of the overall stimulus legislation. Reid said Orszag now estimates that 75% of the package would go into the economy in the first 18 months after enactment.