Washington, D.C. — President-elect Barack Obama received a rude welcome to Washington on Sunday as congressional Democrats dashed his hopes for a speedy response to the worst economic crisis in decades.
Even before Obama’s plane landed, House and Senate Democratic leaders put him on notice that he won’t have a broad economic stimulus plan ready for his signature as soon as he takes office Jan. 20, as he had hoped.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the package could be approved by Congress and sent to Obama in mid-February.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs acknowledged to reporters flying on Obama’s plane to Washington that the Jan. 20 goal for enactment of a stimulus plan is “very, very unlikely.”
Obama planned to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., today to talk about enacting a massive spending plan. The president-elect also scheduled a separate meeting with the entire Democratic and Republican leadership teams.
Obama said Congress should pass a plan designed to create 3 million jobs. The Democratic president-elect hasn’t announced a final price for it, but aides said the cost could be as high as $775 billion.