By Jay Heflin - 05/20/10 07:31 PM EDT
Details on the bill have remained under wraps for much of the day. But with the few details they had, several Democratic lawmakers in both chambers were grumbling about the bill adding to the deficit.
Rough estimates suggest its total cost will be $220 billion. Between $50 billion and $60 billion of that total will be offset. — the rest is considered an emergency measure and therefore does not need to be offset under pay-as-you-go rules.
Several Democrats are having trouble accepting that rationale, since it adds roughly $180 billion to the deficit.
"There are a number of us who are scrutinizing this very closely to see if it meets our test [for emergency spending] and we're not yet convinced that it does," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition.
Senate Democrats are equally troubled by how the bill adds to the deficit.
"I think that will be problematic for our Caucus," said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). "We have to find ways to start paying for more of these things."
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is the Assistant to the Speaker of the House and a member of the Ways and Means Committee that authored the bill, believes members will be more supportive of the bill after they have had a chance to digest its contents.
"I think when people have a chance to review it, they'll like what they see," he told The Hill, adding, "this is going to accelerate job creation in the country, which is the number one priority."