President Barack Obama will keep seeking bipartisan support in Congress despite being rebuffed by House Republicans who voted against a $825 billion economic stimulus package, his spokesman said Thursday. Obama plans to talk with GOP Senators before a possible Senate vote next week and says, "he's open to their (Republican) ideas."
The stimulus legislation passed the House by 244-188 Wednesdaywithout a single Republican in favor.
Obama went to Congress earlier this week to lobby support from House Republicans for the legislation. The bill is now in Senate hands to work out compromises with the House and final passage.
On another front, Obama signed his first bill into law Thursday, handing his labor and women's rights backers a victory by reversing a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it harder to sue for pay discrimination.
With the woman for whom the law was named at his side, Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act at a White House ceremony. The Democratic-led Congress passed the measure this week.
As for the stimulus bill, Obama, who took office eight days ago, was denied, at least for now, his goal of bipartisanship. Every Republican who voted opposed the bill, complaining it contained too much new spending and not enough tax cuts.
All but 11 of Obama's fellow Democrats in the House supported the bill to combat the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The Senate begins debate next week.
Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:
Day 9: Stimulus Package Passes Vote in House (Jan. 28)
- Moving with remarkable speed, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved $819 billion in spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of Obama's economic recovery program. Unhappy Republicans, however, said the bill was short on tax cuts and contained too much spending, much of it wasteful and unlikely to help laid-off Americans. (Full Story)
- Obama met with business leaders to keep up a lobbying campaign for passage of his economic plan, which could be the signature domestic initiative of his first term as he struggles to deal with the worst financial crisis in decades. Obama said it was important to act swiftly to boost the troubled U.S. economy, adding that it was facing "enormous problems." (Full Story)
- Republicans in the House, however, offered an alternative proposal to boost the struggling U.S. economy. The cost of their proposal is approximately $478 billion. (Full Story)
Russia has halted a plan to retaliate against a proposed U.S. missile defense shield by stationing its own missiles near Europe's borders. The suspension of plans, if confirmed, would show Russia is extending an olive branch to Obama after rocky relations under his predecessor. (Full Story)
Day 8: The Stimulus Package Plan Moves Forward (Jan. 27)
- Obama said he wants the House to pass legislation that hits his goal of spending 75 percent of the $825 billion stimulus plan within 18 months. The bill that the House is considering would only spend 64 percent of the money in that period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. (Full Story)
- Geithner announced new rules to limit lobbying by companies that receive government financial assistance in one of his first moves after being sworn into office. The rules restrict lobbyist contacts in connection with applications for or disbursement of the Treasury's $700 billion bailout program. The rules will use as a model the protections that limit political influence on tax matters, and require the Treasury to certify each investment decision is based only on investment criteria and facts of the case. (Full Story)
- Symantec president John Thompson is Obama's top choice for commerce secretary.White House spokesman Gibbs said a final decision had not been made. Obama had previously nominated New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to fill the commerce post, but Richardson withdrew on Jan. 4 in the face of a legal inquiry. (Full Story)
Day 7: Obama's New Climate Policies (Jan. 26)
- Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars, reversing the climate policies of former President George W. Bush. (Full Story)
- Timothy Geithner won confirmation as U.S. Treasury secretary and vowed to act quickly to protect the U.S. economy from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.However, some lawmakers were disturbed by Geithner's late payment of $34,000 in self-employment taxes to vote against the nominee even though they felt he was well suited for the job otherwise. (Full Story)
Day 5: Your Weekly Address (Jan. 24)
- In his first weekly address as President, Barack Obama discusses how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will jump-start the economy. (Watch the video here)
Day 4: Stimulus Package by President's Day? (Jan. 23)
- President Barack Obama said Friday it appears Congress is "on target" to approve a massive new stimulus package by Feb. 16th, President's Day. Obama met with top Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday and said the stimulus package working its way through Congress would be only one leg of an "at least three-legged stool." He said the government needed to move "swiftly and aggressively" as the economy and the financial system struggle. (Full Story)
Auto industry supporters in Congress asked Obama to support another $25 billion in federal loans to help the industry make more fuel efficient cars, seeking over $4 billion in grants and loan guarantees. The White House said Obama and his advisers will evaluate the needs of automakers after reviewing their viability plans in mid-February. (Full Story)
Day 3: House Considers Obama’s Plan (Jan. 22)
- The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday began debating $20 billion in energy tax credits and related financial incentives that are in the Obama administration's plan to revive the American economy. (Full Story)
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the house next week would consider the $825 billion economic stimulus package sought by Obama. (Full Story)
- The Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Geithner to head the U.S. Treasury, overlooking concerns about his underpayment of some $34,000 in taxes and clearing the way for a final vote on his nomination in the full Senate. (Full Story)
- Obama, who worried after winning office that he would have to part with his BlackBerry because of security concerns, will get to keep the email device after all. (Full Story)
Day 2: Back to Business (Jan. 21)
- In a day flurry of activity, Obama set up shop in the Oval Office, summoned advisers to begin dealing with war and recession and ordered new ethics rules for "a clean break from business as usual." (Full Story)
- Obama froze salaries for top White House staff members earning $100,000 or more, about 100 people in all. (Full Story)
- In his phone calls to Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian leaders, Obama emphasized that he would work to consolidate the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. (Full Story)
- Obama imposed the New Freedom of Information Act rules, making it harder to keep the workings of government secret. (Full Story)
- Obama also imposed tighter ethics rules governing when administration officials can work on issues on which they previously lobbied governmental agencies, and banning them from lobbying the administration after leaving government service. (Full Story)
- Geithner testifies to the Senate Financial Committee and apologizes for his tax mistakes. He also comments on Obama’s economic stabilization plan. (Full Story)
Day 1: Inauguration Day (Jan. 20)
- The first African-American U.S. president swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against a backdrop of a deep economic downturn, a trillion dollar federal deficit and fears of more bank losses. (Full Story)
- Wall Street ushered in the Barack Obama presidency with a record Inauguration Day slide amid fresh signs the global bank crisis was far from over. An index of bank stocks lost almost 20 percent on fears of more losses. The Dow fell over 300 points to end below 8,000. The S&P slid more than 40 points to finish around 800 and the Nasdaq tumbled over 80 points to close around 1,450. (Full Story)