Looks like congressional Democrats, with the help of President-elect Obama, have come to their senses on rushing an $800 billion, and potentially $1 trillion, stimulus package through the House and Senate to become law two weeks from now.

Republicans rightly sounded off on the price and the process, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had decided should begin in the Democratic Steering Committee. The panel doles out committee assignments and doesn't mark up legislation — it's a move so far outside the box you would think she was trying to give the GOP a belated Christmas present.

Then some conservative Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in voicing concern about the deficit explosion the package will cause, and want some future pay-go rules in place for future spending. Democrats tried promising there would be no earmarks, but that wasn't enough to quiet critics, so the concessions grew. Now the package will contain between $300 billion and $500 billion in tax cuts, something Republicans prefer to spending, and the whole exercise has now been delayed by several weeks — the new target is Presidents Day, which has a nice ring to it.

We all know that un-reviewed pet projects — earmarks — aren't likely to make it into the package, but members will be fighting for projects nonetheless. The projects will see the light of day, only after members of Congress have nearly killed each other over them in the dark of night.

Members of the leadership have their work cut out for them, with requests and suggestions from most of the 535 representatives and senators. Obama's job may be even harder, signing something that actually delivers on his promise to create 3 million jobs. Then there are the energy and healthcare reform goals the package is supposed to address. Yes, unprecedented — and nearly $1 trillion — pieces of legislation don't just pass in 14 days, and they aren't supposed to.


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