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Congress Digs Obama’s Economic Picks

The statements are dribbling in slowly, but the common verdict from members of Congress surrounding the economic team put together by President-elect Barack Obama seems to be one of undying love — from both sides of the aisle.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the team “has the makings of the best economic team ever assembled.”

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said the picks reflect “strong and early leadership.”

While Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa), the Finance Committee’s top Republican, said the choices have eased earlier concerns about an Obama administration:

During the campaign, the kind of change that the President-elect promised was so undefined it made me nervous. Now that he’s appointing familiar faces from the Clinton administration to very high-level positions I’m less concerned.

Not to stray too far from his entrenched oppositionism, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he’s ready to work with the Obama team to fix the economy, particularly if their strategy coincides with Boehner’s plan to stimulate spending by cutting taxes. “As we proceed,” Boehner said, “we should start by listening to the American people, who do not believe increasing government spending is the best way to put our economy back on track.”

Obama, of course, supports an enormous economic stimulus bill that would pump billions of dollars into infrastructure projects, state Medicaid programs and Detroit’s struggling auto industry. Some Democrats said over the weekend that the price tag could reach $700 billion — all borrowed, largely from abroad.

That’s not going to make Boehner happy. Then again, Washington would be boring if everyone got along.

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