From NBC's Mike Viqueira
This is a sort of a live blog from a member and aide inside the room with President Obama, via e-mail:
Obama speaking now.... Talking about how bad the economy is and that it is deteriorating rapidly
Mentioned caterpillar and Microsoft having to layoff workers.
Says Stimulus is just one leg in multi leg stool to get economy going.
Must get credit lines moving
Must clean out troubled assets
Restore confidence to lenders
Deal with housing market more aggressively.
This is just the first step.
Says would love to not spend this money
Has no interest in increasing government just to increase the size of government.
But he talked to many economists who told him almost uniformly that they needed to get a stim bill up and running asap to avoid huge unemployment------------
So... We put together a package with direct spending and tax cuts.
Mentioned martin Feldstein.
Spending has a more simulative [sic] affect than tax credits.
For every dollar of direct spending, we get 1.5 dollars of stimulus
For every dollar of tax cuts, we get 75 cents of stimulus
We have included NOL and small business provisions.
Obama wrapping up now. Some spending will not get done within the two year timeframe.
Closing with a budget that makes some very tough choices.. Everyone will have to take a haircut. Doesn't want to create programs that will last forever.
No pride of authorship...a good idea is a good idea. Honest effort to deal with a tough problem.
First q from dave camp.
First meeting with house dems was the markup.
Can we find some more common ground on tax relief.
(responding to Camp) Obama says tax relief for some working families must come from payroll so even families who don't pay income taxes get relief and they will spend it.
He said "feel free to whack me over the head because I probably will not compromise on that part.
Obama said that there will be time to beat him up and a time for politics. He said I understand that and I will watch you on fox news and feel bad about myself.
Question 2--Roskam asked about grass on the mall vs. $41 million for small business.
Obama said if we can do more small business tax relief, we should do it, but I am just as concerned about the long term impact of tax cuts as I am about spending.
Obama says (kind of joking and getting laughs) that the national mall is kind of important.
Third q from Stearns is about dTV transition We are ready to go on the transition so why are we delaying? Please reconsider.
Obama: I have no ideological problem, but I have been told that a lot of people's TVs will go dark. He said people like TV's to work. He wants the transition to work as fast as is possible.
*** UPDATE *** MORE...
Brady (TX): can you assure us that this stimulus will not be an excuse to raise taxes and have wasteful spending (applause)
Obama: spending can sometimes be like closing the barn door after the horse has already left. This recession is different, deeper, and global.
Nobody is more worried about the deficit and the debt than me. I will be judged by the legacy I have left behind. I don't want to leave our children with a legacy of debt. I am inheriting an annual yearly debt of over 1 trillion
At the pace we are going, we are doing irreparable damage to our economy. We are going to have to make some very painful choices. We will present a budget with a realistic approach to eliminate debt, and bring down spending.