No Second Stimulus For Now

A few days after raising the possibility of another economic stimulus bill, Democratic leaders put that on ice Thursday, saying they want to see how the economy responds to the plan already approved by Congress.

"We've done a big package - several hundred billion dollars," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reporters.

"Let's see how that works."

Earlier in the week, it was a bit different, as Pelosi suggested the original $787 billion stimulus plan was not enough to turn around the economy, a point of view backed by a number of economists on the Democratic side.

But yesterday when she met with reporters, the Speaker was playing a different tune.

"I think it's important that the American people have confidence in the economic recovery package that we have passed," said the Speaker.

In other words - if we keep talking about a second stimulus bill - then people will think the first one was a failure.

Meanwhile, there were more signals yesterday that Democratic leaders will have a tough time cobbling together the votes on the Obama budget.

In a hearing with the Secretary of Treasury, Republicans savaged the Obama plans, foreshadowing little support from them, and even Democrats expressed skepticism again about the Obama tax plans to pay for health care reform.

On the House side, the group of more moderate to conservative Democrats known as the Blue Dogs are evidently getting ready to say they want no part of the proposed limits on tax deductions as a way to fund health care reform.

The Blue Dogs are potentially a major force, just as a group of more centrist Democrats are in the Senate - they can sway things their way by withholding their support.

I can see the more moderate Democratic Senators making a big push on some of this, but the Blue Dogs still have to convince me.

They have made a lot of noise in recent years on a lot of issues - but when push comes to shove - they have often folded their tent.

We'll see if this year is different.

At least for now, they won't be fighting over a second stimulus plan, but the budget arguments will be just as important in the 2009 political arena.