President-elect Barack Obama met with majority Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill Tuesday about an emerging economic stimulus plan. The talks came as the House of Representatives prepared to take up legislation that would place new restrictions on how the remainder of the government's $700 billion relief program for financial institutions is spent.
In a flurry of activity one week before his inauguration as the nation's 44th president, Mr. Obama sent key aides to negotiate details of the economic stimulus.
Composed of tax cuts and spending, the stimulus package is expected to cost at least $800 billion.
Lawrence Summers, the President-elect's chief economic advisor, outlined the incoming administration's stimulus proposals, and discussed the separate matter of releasing the second $350 billion installment of the $700 billion financial institution rescue program.
Mr. Obama later conferred for about an hour with Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"I think it was a very good meeting. We left, I think all of us felt very good, that we're going to work with the president-elect on this issue and those in the future to bring the country out of the deep hole that it finds itself in from an economic perspective."
Tuesday's discussions were aimed at smoothing over differences on the stimulus plan after Mr. Obama faced some opposition, including from members of his own Democratic Party.
On the issue of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, Mr. Obama wants to subject financial institutions to greater accountability, and direct more money to help American families and businesses.
Lawmaker displayed their determination to require new conditions during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
The House has scheduled a Thursday vote on legislation authored by Democrat Barney Frank,the panel chairman, that would mandate tighter controls on recipients of government money and require spending to reduce home mortgage foreclosures.
"Having given $350 billion to the Bush administration, I believe it is reasonable to make it now available to the Obama administration, but with much more in the way of restriction," he said.
However, ranking panel Republican Spencer Bachus expressed concern that the second installment would be misspent.
"We are seeing now this thing transition, if we approve this second half, into a grab bag, where people can just reach in and get taxpayer money," he said.
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced similar concerns, telling reporters Mr. Obama has been in touch with Republicans on the TARP matter.
"We would like to hear more from the new president and his team about just exactly how the $350 billion would be used," he said.
When it approved the first half of the financial rescue program last October, Congress gave itself 15 days after receiving a formal request from the White House for the balance of the funds, to approve or disapprove releasing the money.
Senate Majority Leader Reid told reporters on Tuesday that he is confident there would be sufficient votes to reject any motion for disapproval. One such measure was introduced Tuesday, sponsored by five Senate Republicans. Any motion of disapproval from Congress would be subject a presidential veto.
a flurry of: sudden commotion, excitement, or confusion; nervous hurry（一阵急促的、紧张的活动等）
confer：to consult together; compare opinions; carry on a discussion or deliberation（协商，交换意见）