Taking no chances, President Obama is exerting last-minute pressure on Congress to approve his stimulus plan by highlighting stories of people affected by the economic downturn.
The Democratic National Committee and Obama’s Organizing for America are using Obama’s vast e-mail list Friday to contact the president’s political supporters and point them to a new Web page, where several of these stories can be viewed. The goal is to drum up public support for the measure as Congress prepares to vote on it. “These stories show why an economic recovery plan is needed immediately to address the hardship Americans are experiencing right now,” the site says. The stories were collected last weekend from Obama supporters who attended one of 3,600 meetings held across the country to discuss the situation, according to the DNC. In all, 31,030 stories were submitted to the DNC and Organizing for America, a grass-roots movement that grew out of the campaign. Read the stories “The stories we’ve collected put a human face on the economic crisis and underscore the urgent need for action,” Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said in a statement. CNNMoney: How the stimulus may affect your wallet Kaine, who heads the DNC, said that “Congress needs to move swiftly toward final passage of the economic recovery plan so the president can sign it into law and we can prevent this economic crisis from becoming a national catastrophe that costs millions more Americans their jobs, homes and health care.” With the support of a three Republican centrists in the Senate, the $789 billion bill is expected to be approved by Congress as early as Friday and then head to the White House to be signed into law by Obama. Watch Obama say it’s time for Congress to act »
CNN/Money: How stimulus may affect your wallet
iReport.com: Your thoughts on the stimulus
Stimulus bill: Part one
Stimulus bill: Part two
The House of Representatives, which had originally planned to vote on the package Thursday, was forced to wait until Friday after many rank-and-file Democrats who were unhappy with some spending cuts demanded time to read the compromise measure. The Senate plans to vote on the compromise late Friday, said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. iReport: Your thoughts on the stimulus The vote will be held open for the arrival of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who will be attending a wake for his mother until about 8 p.m., Reid said. Despite the grumblings of some House Democrats unhappy with the spending measures, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Thursday she was pleased with the outcome of the negotiations. Read the compromise: Part 1 | Part 2 The stimulus deal was struck Wednesday after a furious day of negotiations on Capitol Hill involving House and Senate leaders, administration officials and the three moderate Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Of the 219 Republicans in Congress, they were the only ones who backed the bill. Reid on Thursday was calling on other Republican centrists in an attempt to persuade more of them to vote for the measure, an aide said. The Senate’s version of the bill narrowly passed 61-37 Tuesday — one more vote than needed. Reid was looking for additional votes out of an abundance of caution, the aide said, after learning that Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who returned to Capitol Hill for votes earlier this week, will not be present for the final vote because he returned to Florida to continue his recovery from brain cancer. Reid was concerned that if a Democratic senator gets sick or has some other unforeseen obligation, he could have trouble getting the bill passed, the aide said. Reid also was concerned because the three GOP moderates suggested they did not want to provide the decisive 60th vote for passage, the aide said. Here’s how the compromise bill is expected to affect individuals: Most individuals will get a $400 tax credit, and most couples will get an $800 credit. That amounts to an extra $13 a week in a person’s paycheck, starting in June. That’s less than what Obama campaigned on — $500 for individuals and $1,000 per couple. Many students will get $2,500 tuition tax credit. First-time home buyers may qualify for a tax credit of up to $8,000.
People who receive Social Security will get a one-time payment of $250. The overall package is estimated to be 35 percent tax cuts and 65 percent spending, Democratic sources said.