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GOP Leaders Hope to Slow Dems’ Stimulus Plans

It’s no mystery that the first item on the agenda when Congress returns to Washington next week will be an enormous spending package designed to create jobs and get the derailed economy back on track. The bill is expected to be in the range of $800 billion, and Democrats have said they hope to have it passed in both chambers by the time Barack Obama is sworn in Jan. 20.

Republican leaders, though, have other plans.

In statements released today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) both called for hearings on the proposal, and a week of public airing before the vote. From The Hill:

“Taxpayers are in no mood to have a single dollar wasted, but it’s not yet been explained how their tax dollars will be protected and not wasted in a rush to spend their money,” McConnell said. “The American people need to know if their money is going to be spent on Mob museums and water slides.”

The GOP threat might not matter. For the past two years, Senate Republicans have had great success using the filibuster to defeat the Democrats’ plans, but that was when Republicans held 49 seats. Next year, they won’t control more than 42 upper-chamber spots — 41 if Al Franken wins the seat of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota. That means Democrats would have to pry away only a few moderate Republicans to pass their stimulus package.

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