Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for February 11, 2009. Well, it didn't take long. House and Senate negotiators just reached an agreement on their competing versions of the administration's economic recovery plan. Final votes could come as early as tomorrow.
The final package has a price tag of $789 billion. I'm one of those folks who believe the stimulus needs to be at least twice that size to have a substantial impact on our horrific economy. None the less, it's worth pointing out that this is the first time in years that the House and Senate agreed to a spending bill that was less than the spending either chamber originally passed. The usual joke around town is that if the House wants our government to spend $100, and the Senate wants to spend $130, the compromise is to spend $150.
We will talk about the details in the economic recovery plan with CNBC's John Harwood. Also, some Unions are now running television and radio ads targeting 21 lawmakers who voted the against the economic recovery plan last week. We will show you the ad.
Plus, we will show you a video that Republican Congressman Cantor's office sent out that created quite a stir. The video lampooned AFSCME and used a lot of profanity. Cantor, to his credit, apologized.
Most of the fireworks in Washington, D.C. today came in Congressional hearings with the CEO's of bailout banks. Talk about humiliation. I think they would have had a more pleasant experience getting their teeth removed without anesthesia. The hearing was brutal. We will bring you some of the highlights, lowlights, and incredible moments.
Lawmakers were justifiably fired up this morning thanks to this report in the New York Times about bonuses that executives that Merrill Lynch doled out just before a merger with Bank of America. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is now investigating whether Merrill executives should be criminally charged.
By the way, a big "thank you" to everybody who has been joining me online on Twitter.
I'm getting some terrific feedback and great show ideas. As promised, I'll try to tweet a little tonight during some of the commercial breaks.
Also, a separate thank you to "Kaye" of Santa Fe, N.M. She sent me a great resource link that contributed mightily to tonight's "Hypocrisy Watch." Rush Limbaugh is making some ridiculous and misleading claims about health modernization plans in the economic recovery bill. Plus, he is now attacking a government office that conservatives wanted and created in the Bush administration.
As you may know, nearly every Wednesday for all of you is "Mythbuster Wednesday" here at 1600. Our friend Daniel Gross, senior editor at Newsweek, will tackle the myth that a dollar of government spending is not as "stimulative" as a dollar of tax cuts. Another myth is that a dollar of government spending is stimulative if it's spent on construction and not as stimulative if it's used for food stamps. Wrong. Dan will explain.
Today is also Sarah Palin's birthday. Our producer/editor Chris Pendy is working on a terrific video montage of Palin's most memorable moments from the past year. Happy Birthday, Governor!
And our "Muckraker of the Day" has a story you need to hear about the embarrassing treatment of Iraq/Afghanistan war vets.
Thanks in advance for watching tonight's show. I'll be "tweeting" during and after.
"1600" airs at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in Milwaukee; 4 p.m. in Santa Fe; and 3 p.m. in Oakland.