Goal: Stimulus Package on Obama’s Desk by Jan. 20

By Dschabner

Nov 23, 2008 8:11pm

Democratic sources tell ABC News that President-elect Obama’s transition team is working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill so that on Obama’s first day in office, Jan. 20, 2009, an economic stimulus package has passed both houses of Congress and is awaiting his signature.

Spokespeople for the Obama transition team did not have any immediate comment.

Immediately after his victory on Nov. 4, Obama begged off being too specific on his immediate agenda, saying the United States only has one president at a time.

But the continued economic downturn — further drops in the stock market, consumer spending dropping off dramatically, auto sales down and automakers pleading for a bailout, rising unemployment, collapsing oil prices, recessions declared abroad — has clearly changed his mind.

One of his top economic advisers, Austan Goolsbee, today described the Bush administration as "dithering" when it comes to the tanking economy.

Wall Street executives have been telling the Obama team for days that the president-elect needed to send a signal that he is on the case.

On Friday afternoon, Obama’s team leaked the name of his Treasury Secretary nominee, New York Federal Reserve Chairman Tim Geithner, prompting a late-day rally; the market shot up by more than 500 points.

On Monday morning in Chicago, Obama will introduce key members of his economic team — Geithner and soon-to-be National Economic Council director Larry Summers — and will reiterate what he said in his Saturday weekly radio address: that he will push for a massive stimulus package proposal, one much larger than the $175 billion he proposed as a candidate, perhaps as high as $500 billion.  Obama is not expected to give a specific price tag for the stimulus package on Monday.

Some Democratic officials cautioned that having such a pricey bill on President Obama’s desk by Jan. 20 might be too ambitious a goal, especially in the Senate where Democrats do not have enough seats to prevent a Republican filibuster.

- jpt

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