February 13th, 2009
01:12 PM ET

Is the stimulus bill transparent?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Part of President Obama's appeal during the election was his call for a new era of transparency, of shaking up the way things are done in Washington.

Is the stimulus bill transparent?

The 1,071 page bill was posted late last night on a congressional website.

But when you look at how his stimulus bill is moving through Congress, it sounds a whole lot like the way "old" Washington operated.

Late last night, the stimulus plan – all one-thousand seventy-one pages of it – was posted on a congressional web site. This gave lawmakers only a few hours to read it before voting. No one can read a thousand page document written by lawyers in just a few hours.

so the House passed the bill without having read it and the Senate is expected to do the same thing shortly. Almost $800 billion and nobody in Congress knows what's in there. That ought to help you to sleep well tonight.

The Democrats promised lawmakers and the public would have at least 48 hours to read the thing before the vote. They lied. Again.

Old fashioned politics. Wait until the last possible moment – President Obama wants this on his desk by Monday – and then cram it through.

As the AP puts it, the stimulus bill is clearly "the result of old-fashioned sausage-making", with pet projects coming to light that hadn't been included in the original bills.

Here’s my question to you: What does a 1,000 page stimulus bill the public had virtually no chance to look at say about the new era of "government transparency"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Chris from Buffalo, New York writes:
"Transparency" is like "family values" or "honesty". All political hopefuls from the beginning of time (Mr. Obama being no exception) have claimed that these nebulous traits will be the cornerstones of their tenure in Washington, and then they actually get to Washington.

Rose from Arizona writes:
Are you kidding? There is no transparency in this bill. The Dems are shoving it down our throats and it is our money. We should all be very afraid that this bill is going to fail, and then what? Where is the change?

Ron from Ohio writes:
Jack, That's why politicians have aides. Do politicians ever read whole bills? You know, we want quick action, and when we get it, we complain that it is too quick. Come on. Any politician who has cared to be informed knows what is in the package. Slamming the thousand pages down and whining is just grandstanding.

Steve from Scappoose, Oregon writes:
Jack, Finally found the bill on the Internet. Reading as fast as I can, but at $787 million a page it's going slow. Still haven't seen your name or mine… will call.

Michael writes:
To say that no one has read this bill is a fallacy. That no one has read this bill in its current form is probably closer to the truth. I have read this bill; it’s available through the Library of Congress at thomas.gov. Not much has changed from version to version except the numbers involved. On the whole, a lot of the original language is intact. Sections may have been slightly modified and reworded, but to say it’s a whole new bill is intellectually dishonest.

John from New Hampshire writes:
Transparent? Like lead-lined concrete.

Chris from New York writes:
Jack, Stop whining. You are beginning to sound like Limbaugh.

Filed under: Stimulus Plan • US Government
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Rod from Allentown PA

    As long as there are politicians, there will be no transparency in Washington. The public and voters should now be seeing this fact and the fact that they were sold a bill of goods by the newest smooth talking politician to reach the White House. And we thought Slick Willy was good!

    February 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  2. Matt in Minneapolis, MN


    It means many broken promises. Obama promised 5 days of public comment before signing bills. He will sign on monday. Pelosi and reid said they will give two days of having a bill public before going for passage, it will be 12 hours. Obama promised no pork. 30 million for mice in Pelosi's district, and 8 billion for a train line from Reid's state to LA sound like pork to me.

    The fact is they talked a good game to get elected and they modified the system so that it's techically not pork, but A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. These guys are politicans, what else would you expect.


    Minneapolis, MN

    February 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  3. David Gerstenfeld Las Vegas

    It does stimulate the paper, logging, & printing industries. How many unstimulating copies that won't be read are being printed & at what cost?
    David, Las Vegas

    February 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  4. JR in Norfolk VA

    It means we have been lied to. Are you surprised by this?

    February 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Darin in Denver

    As far as I'm concerned, there is no transparency. What's new?

    February 13, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  6. phil from Toronto

    This is a huge disappointment, a loss of face for President Obama. He needs to call on all elected officials to step back and simplify the process and clarify the detail. The President needs to veto the package totally and with anger. You can wait a week, month or year to stimulate the economy, but once it is passed, there will be no going back. I ask President Obama to walk-the-walk as he promised during the election. Hasn't anybody learned from the first Bush-Bailout...haste makes waste?

    February 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  7. Elizabeth in NC

    A speed reader couldn't get through this. I only hope that somewhere in this stimulus package is a few billion to build some dank and dreary jails for these wall street/ mortgage / banking crooks. Boy would I love to be on that jury!!!

    February 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  8. DrFrann in CA

    You're right. The bill should have been accessible to the public. Was it?
    There was an urgency in moving it because the ship was sinking. Fast.
    And I think it might not even be enough so he may have to go back to them for more.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Joe in DE

    The urgency preculdes real transparency. This is unfortunate.. We should judge Obama on future conduct.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  10. Venia

    It means the republicans had their hand in it. Why was the bank bailout so easy for the republicans to pass through, yet the plan to help america and the middle class turned into a circus? And by the way no one complained about the bank bailout being transparent.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  11. Gerry in Toronto

    If it hadn't of been for the obstuctionist behavior of the republicans there would have been all kinds of time for reading. Of course, the ones complaining about reading it are the conserative republicans and none of them had any intention of reading it or voting for it anyway.

    Now, there is no time, every day that passes, another 20,000 people lose their jobs. If the senate or house wasn't pushed to pass this, there'd be no bill till June and another 5 million would be unemployed.

    I guess thats what the GOP want. Whatever happened to Country First?

    February 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  12. John

    What new era of governmental transparency. Hasn't it always been that way. Bush stole the money from the Country and now President Obama is trying to stabilize the economy which will mean a rise in gas prices but this country now has a Statesman as our leader and we should put our faith in our President.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  13. Tim Bernard

    If I'm correct the patriot act was over 1,000 pages and released 3:00am the day it was signed. If the stimulus bill helps us all get a job maybe we won't have any derogatory comments towards our goverment . Then the NSA can post layoffs!!!!
    Minot Maine

    February 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  14. Nancy

    Transparency? That's a bunch of bull! Certain Democrats and Obama have gotten together and written this legislation without input from the public and the rest of Congress. Then they say..... we are the majority and no one is going to stop us. Both Bipartisanship and Transparency went out the window along with the hopes and dreams of the American people. For the next four years, the Democrates and President Obama WILL RULE and the HECK with the rest of America.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  15. me46

    Unfortunately it says we're in crisis mode. None of us want to see government doing things like this but the American dream is melting faster than the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

    Las Vegas

    February 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  16. Russ in PA

    The American people have been scammed, and taken for fools once again. I am finally convinced that the American public can't learn from history, nor from past experience. The politicians from both parties are playing us all like fools. Someday everyone will regret not listening to Ron Paul...

    February 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  17. Bonnie from NJ

    If you hire a lawyer one of the first things he will tell you is no matter how small the print is, make sure you read before you sign it. Can someone please tell me what the extreme hurry is on this bill, other than get it passed before anyone realizes what a waste of money it is. I am against this bill and very disappointed in Obama for the way it is being handled, sure seems like the old way of doing things with fear and intimidation. Although I have written to both of my senators my opinon on this bill, they are both democrats so I am sure they will both vote for it. Then, of course, they will be patting themselves on the back for the great service they have done for the middle class!

    February 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  18. Natalie Ohio

    It says that President Obama is a leader and one who has gained the trust and confidence of most Americans starving for change after the Bush administration. We send people to Washington to represent our views and that means we trust and expect them to vote their conscience. If that doesn't work for for a few right-wingers with really big mouths who behave like terrorist undermining the will of the American people who spoke definitively during the election. Like it or lump it and tune to the next for more faux patriotism by millionaire radio bumpkin "Lush Bimbaugh".

    February 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  19. Cindi-Omaha, NE

    About as transparent as mud, Jack.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  20. Ann from S.C.

    I just don't see this issue through the same lens that you do. To me the Number One priority was to get started on something to bring stability to our economy and to get people working again. If we waited for everyone to read it and argue about it, Christmas would be here and we would be in a deep depression. Obama told us before the election that he was going to try to get a stimulus package through Congress as soon as possible. Now that he has done it, (almost) let us rejoice and join together to help make it work. All this negativity makes me crazy.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  21. V.K. Raman, Sparks

    Every one will compartmentalize and read what they like to know and understand. The entire document will never be read by any single individual including the members of congress. Republicans will read with an eye to find areas they do not agree and Democrats will read what areas of their philosophy are included. Transparency is in the eye of the beholder

    February 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  22. AJ from Austin TX

    Transparent? Not when the democrats sneaked more into the bill in the middle of the night, when no one was looking. What happened to 'change'?

    February 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  23. Linda in Indiana

    It means the same old politics. Pork spending! We need jobs now for the factory workers losing their jobs everyday in Indiana.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  24. Michael

    Jack, it says one more campaign promise broken by Obama. More proof that the change promised was just to get votes. I see nothing that is changed by how Washington operates. Just a different party in control.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  25. Pat,Clearwater Florida

    It is a lot more transparent than our trillon dollar war in Iraq
    founded on a pile of lies by the Bush Administration. At least
    the stimulus doesn't have any Blood on its hands!!!!

    February 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  26. Chris, Albany NY

    It was posted online Jack. I'm not sure how much more transparent it can be. Yeah your probably not going to read 647 pages in an instant but you can look over chunks of it. Except if you were trying to get to it when the site crashed last night!

    February 13, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  27. Patros

    Guess this is change we can believe in....I seriously feel betrayed by our senators and even President. Obama....I voted for him....thinking he would bring about change in Washington....but unfortunately he has not changed anything....now....the congress, senate and the white house is going to spend all this money claiming that it is a stimulus...and forget about giving the general public to read and debate the bill they did not even give the congress and senate enough time to go through all the wording of the legislation...how could any of them vote for this with the right conceinse....they took an oath to uphold the constitution and look put for the american people...but they are choosing to play Russian roulette with our future....I am saddened that my kids and their kids will be burdened with high taxes...because eventually china/japan/whoever is loaning us the money would need it back.............after this I don't care for politics and highly doubt if I ever cast a vote for any of them again...Politicians are all talk...they always look out for themselves and their ideologies and never for the good of the people and the nation....God save us...

    February 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  28. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Transparency? Thats looney tunes for sure. "Change we can believe in" What a farce Obama put over. Waht happened to President Obamas police that he wouldn't sign legislation until the American Public had 5 days to review/read it? Lies, Lies, and we can proive this lie to the American Public!

    You folks that elected him are getting your just rewards, in fact your grandchildren will be sharing those rewards for years to come.

    The old proverb, "Be careful what you wish for" is coming back to haunt you folks!

    February 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  29. John

    It's as transparent as a black hole.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  30. David Bakody Nova Scotia

    Nothing changes, nothing changes ..... perhaps is why Mark Twain said: History has tried hard to teach us that we can't have good government under politicians. Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn't be wise. – New York Herald, 8/26/1876

    February 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  31. Mary - Santee CA

    Not only is there no transparency and we are not privy to its contents, but the House and Senate leaders what a vote on a 1000 page document before they have a chance to read it. What are they hiding? Quite alot I bet.

    Mary – Santee CA

    February 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  32. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    That's why we are in the mess we are in. They never read any bill they vote on and I'm not sure they have the reading comprehension to understand it if they do.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  33. Esther,

    The republicans are using the word bipartisan so much so that it has become the language of blackmail. They are longer funny.


    February 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  34. Horn Lake, MS

    I don't know why this surprises anyone. Those who are for Obama will find excuses for the lies and deceit and continue to call those who say anything about the discrepancies bigots andn obstructionists. hose who are against him will continue to cite it as the reason they did not vote for him.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  35. Tony from Torrington

    I don't suppose that you have read it Jack, and I suppose that no one else has read it. It's simply a "pot of stew" where democrats (who lied when they said they wanted bipartisan contributions) have sneakily tossed in all their favorite PORK projects. i guess it's a PORK stew. President Obama has requested a quick approval (before anyone has the chance to actually read and understand it) so he can get his agenda passed. Transparent??? Yes, we are all learning that Obama is transparent. I can see right through him.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  36. neo

    This is disturbing, however if I've known what has been changed between the 2 bills for a couple days I really don't think this is a big issue because the congress members should pretty much know whats in it.

    At this point there are 2 strategies:
    1) vote for the imperfect stimulus
    2) tell america to suck it up and do nothing.

    I cant believe your siding with #2.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  37. steve e.

    I don't know about transparency because transparency is in the eyes of the beholder. But the stimulus bill has passed the smell test and if it isn't passed by Congress the terrorists win.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  38. Laura

    I guess it means that the transparency is transparent at least to the people who matter the ones who will pay for it, and their kids, grandkids, great-grandkids. Well you get the picture right?

    Laura Boston

    February 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  39. Sid...Texas

    It means that it will be business as usual in DC with very little if any public input. The only transparency in DC is when you look in a politician's ear, and see the wall on the other side of him.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  40. mrsntc Houston, TX

    I am so very disappointed in the Congress that I am not sure I will vote for any of them. They have truly fiddled while Rome is burning.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  41. Ken Miller

    The middle class needs help now! We have all our eggs in Obamas basket. This bills votes prove that the war agaisnt the middle class is coming directly from the grand obstruction party, adolesent political games are both greedy and unamerican. good luck to the Palin Limbach ticket in 2012. Ken from Oregon

    February 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  42. Eileen Agawam.Ma.

    Jack, wasn't it in Sept.08 5 months ago that the congress & Senate knew this country was in trouble. and in Nov. theRepublicans sign a bill to bail out wall Street I think they have had enough time to straighten this problem out. if they go home for another recess they might as well stay home that way the tax payer will save money not heating that building I say *hit can the whole bunch and get some grown-ups with brains maybe from china to run this country.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  43. C. Martin-Wood, Alabama

    Jack, the only thing "transparent" about this bill is that it's "clearly" not going to put enough in my pocket to make a difference. Take $400 and divide it over 12 months - it doesn't put a dent into what I'm losing daily due to increased prices.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  44. Jack

    I don't know why you think any one needs to read it, under the last 8 years administration, nothing was known to most of us as it was all done behind closed doors.The Republicans spent us into a Trillion Dollar debt last year, and didn't bat an eye, but they are so sad at the amount of money which is being asked to help the people of America, Democrat and Republican alike. Sad Sad situation we are in.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  45. Jack

    You'll never get transparency with one party in power. This will plague my daughter and her children for years to come unfortunately and do little for the economy. I wish you would do a segment just on the "government health care" provisions of this bill – what an eye opener!

    February 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  46. Shaila Chicago

    Atleast we have something compared to the last 8 years. Everything that comes out of a lawyers office is hard to read so whats new about that?

    February 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  47. MJ


    Secret meetings behind closed doors by the few in the House and Senate wouldn't be construed as 'Transparent' . This bill should of been stripped of the earmarks/pork the President boldly denied being in there. It goes to show you that his mantra of "CHANGE" was only transparent to those who did not vote for him.


    February 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  48. Mimi

    Sadly, it almost looks like the old "bait and switch" you see at Carnivals. I voted for our President, but I am becoming a tad worried that there may be an unholy alliance between Congress and the White House.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  49. Travis


    Your being very presumptuous here. I seriously doubt that much of anyone in the public and the majority of congress would actually put forth the effort to read this bill even if it was posted for two months! The pundits are the only ones that actually read these things so that they can argue about the next day.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  50. tom Pa.

    you can't have transparency if no one knows what's in it.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  51. Garret Schneider

    This is the updated bill, correct?
    Have there been THAT many tweeks to the one posted a week(+) ago? If the differences were hammered-out in a day or two, I don't expect the changes to be impossible to digest.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  52. Jane - WI

    The way this bill was rammed through Congress today tells me that this isn't the "Change We Can Believe In". Democrats knew that the longer the public gets to look at this pork laden bill, the less they like it. Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats promised that this bill would be available for 48 hours before it got voted on. It was released at 11 pm last night and voted on at 9 am in the House. Looks like yet another Democrat promise broken.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  53. Brian - Trinidad

    Only a fool would have believed all Obama's claims of what he would do if elected.That is the definition of political success,say what you need to say to get elected.So shut up and suck it up.Don't whine about how Obama is not keeping his campaign promises.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  54. Randy from Salt Lake City

    It's a joke! Nothing will change as long as you have corporations running politicians. Rich corporations rule, man! Put a fork in this country, it's done!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  55. Kathy Corey

    Jack: The House passed this bill without reading it and the Senate will likely do the same. They also won't read the Tax bill that we will ultimately have to pay for this out of control spending...when the tax man commeth and we all know that he will.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  56. Unshrub


    Your comments are misleading. They have had weeks to read the bill, all they have to do is read the changes. No Congress Person reads every bill, that is why they have staff memebers. Are you being misleading because you don't know better or because you think your readers don't know better? Print this...

    February 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  57. Oscar

    The Dems in Congress are giving the impression of a “shark feeding frenzy”. This time around the so called “Stimulus Bill” that in reality is just a huge “Spending Bill” geared toward partisan objectives.
    This attitude of the Democrats has left the country asking where is the promised “Change” against the “old Washington” that President Obama sold us during his campaign.

    Cooper City, FL

    February 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  58. Hilde H

    Can anyone explain to me, what "voice" the Republicans want to have now? I thoght they had several years of "voicing," why, they wanted the US to go broke?
    Hilde, NM

    February 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  59. Niki

    Jack – they said 48 hours on a website for NON Emergency legislation...I believe they consider this bill Emergency, given the condition of our economy...get over it.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  60. Hara, New York City

    Every day we lose something like 20,000 jobs.

    He's moving things quickly, and he's being criticized for not giving us enough time to review the bill.

    If he moved more slowly, he'd be criticized for not being quick enough in bringing the help we desperately need.

    Either way somebody would be criticizing Obama, which is ok, because dissent is a crucial part of a healthy democracy.

    But I personally think he's doing a very good job so far.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  61. Mary - California

    No transparency and the Washington idiots did it again! Lied to the American people! One day when we no longer have America, Washington will wake-up....and they better start respecting the voice of the people!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  62. Bo

    Go figure. The largest spending bill in US history can make it to the President's desk in the shortest time frame possible. Transparency will occur when it is too late.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  63. Andrew, NC

    It says there never was a new era jack, it says there never was...

    February 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  64. David Odell, Altoona, PA

    I hope they leave in the part where I get $20, 000 for a new home theatre.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  65. Randy

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

    February 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  66. alfredo

    Jack, I'm with the president, do or die, but as a child of the sixties: "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

    February 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  67. Joseph in TX

    This is a huge disappointment to say the least. Obama has already done remarkably well in the short 3 weeks he's been in office. I don't understand why he would rush this legislation after putting so much effort into it. I seriously hope word gets to him so he will give Congress the time they need to make sure this stimulus bill is as effective and efficient as possible.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  68. Lindsey in Minnapolis

    I would be really interested to read this piece of legislation just to see what I am going to be paying for the rest of my life. Just to see how much of the stimulus bill will actually go out to help hard working Americans and to see what other items got tagged on by our leaders in the Senate and the House of 'Representatives.'

    There are a few ways we can fix what is going on in washington. Either people start to get informed and vote in new people that will actually represent us rather than sit on their hands and work on their personal agendas, or start the second American revolution. All i know is that i voted for the person i wanted to 'lead' our country. I did not settle for Obama, or McCain.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  69. Natalia, Albuquerque, NM

    Give us a break, already! Obama's plan does not include huge tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%, but is giving tax breaks for 95% of us regular hard-working people AND creating jobs for the 3 million plus that are now unemployed because of Bush's failed policies. After eight years of giving Bush a blank check to funnel money to his cronies through no bid contracts, one would think you could be a little happy about the change that this bill represents.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  70. Tushar Dhoot

    Plain and Simple:

    There will never be government transparency.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  71. Robert, Greensboro NC

    It shows that the only thing new about this era is liberal policy replacing conservative policy. I never bought into either campaign for the simple fact that they were both filled with naivety. The sad truth is that you need to get down and dirty to get things done in Washington; and that will never change.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  72. Jim


    Get real.

    The stimulus bill has benn debated for what 3 weeks now.

    During that time literally hunfeds of amendment were purposed and voted on. After that committees meet to hammer out a compromise bill.

    Do you actually think no one was reading the bill for the past three weeks while the debate was going on and amendments were being offered? Again, get real.

    I know Georgre Bush can not read but do think that is true for the entire congress?

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  73. Michael

    Wait a minute. I just saw GOP politicians complaining loudly about very specific portions of the bill? How do they know the specifics and yet claim they didn't have time to read it? Oops ...

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Patricia

    You didn't REALLY expect transparency from the Obama administration, did you? If yes, I've got some prime ocean
    view property in Kansas that I'd love to sell you - cheap!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  75. Jan Agostaro

    Jack, when you say ' it sounds a whole lot like the way “old” Washington operated.' you are probably right.

    I don't imagine that the Republicans took much time at all for reading any of the prior drafts that came across their desks in the past weeks, or they would have had the time to go right to the 'latest changes,' thereby actually knowing what is going on around them!

    Maybe it is time to challenge a few of those seats are not surprisingly being utilized by the Representatives.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  76. Kirby

    Government has always been "paper happy" so this shouldn't surprise anyone. But lets get real the main points of the bill have been argued over the last 3 weeks there is little new. You can't tell me that the Republicans have read everything they rushed through, because they haven't.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Dan in Pittsburgh

    It is clear that Obama continued the tradition of would-be politicians – saying whatever would get him into office, then dismissing his grand ideas for work within the political machine.

    Pelosi and her incompetent fellows are like a child-gang run amuck.

    With all the intellect in this country, I am disappointed this is the best leadership we can muster... and the rest of the world is watching us...

    February 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  78. Purnell Kankakee lL.

    Don't get President Obama mixed up with the Congress, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi do not care one bit about working with the Republicans, nor do the Republicans want to work with President Obama or the Democrates in Congress. Oil and water will never mix together!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  79. Rory Murray

    Pete Townshend & Roger Daltrey from The WHO said it best... "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss", ironically a lyric from the song "Won't Get Fooled Again". Boy, were we ever!
    Try to have a good weekend.
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    February 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  80. RJ

    Obama is the one who put a time tables on this.
    He should stick to his word and let everyone have the time to read it thoroughly. You can try and blame the Republicans all you want, but it was Pelosi who rushed the vote in the house, not the Republicans.
    And the bank bailout was passed by the Democrats, not the Republicans. Funny how you all seem to forget who was in charge of congress last year... yes... the Democrats. It wouldn't have passed without them.

    Gerry... stick to Canadian issues.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  81. Heather

    Come on Jack- now you sound like John Boehner or Fox news! What gives? I have heard many reports, including your own (CNN) Donna Brazile, stating the Bill has been in their hands for weeks now- and there were only some minor adjustments (language,etc.) that were added/ changed last night. The way you (and the republicans) are stating it makes it sound as if it was started AND finished last night.

    PLEASE- some perspective!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  82. Anon

    Ignorance must be bliss. You're surprised that your own government has lied to you in the past, is lying to you now, and will CONTINUE to lie to you? Of course this bill is transparent. So are a majority of the people that expect our senators read the fine print before passing a bill that our economy desperately needs.

    Who can we really trust these days, anyways?

    February 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  83. michelle

    C'mon Jack, This bill has been batted around for the last 3 weeks, and all the legislators believed they had sufficient understanding to push for deleting items and negotiating with each other around what could be taken out and what must be left in. If they didn't know what was in the bill then all the debate has been purely for show. Please tell me that ain't so!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  84. bill ball

    Keep it simple Jack garbage in garbage out.Time will tell but my opinion is we elected the biggest fraud to date.There will be no honesty in goverment until the populace wakes up and revolts.That would be starving people which is rapidly approaching.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  85. Thomas E Smith

    Tom in Glenwood, MN

    The way you read 1071 pages is you shut your mounth and start on page 1. If you can not handle a 1000 page over night reading assignment take a speed reading class or get a different job.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  86. Tom

    Jack the Bill is Transparent – the GOP is to be blamed for the public not seeing all contents of this bill. The GOP intentionally attempted to hold back the passing of the bill, thereby affecting President Obama's Administration. The American people are so tired of the GOP.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  87. Barbie from Hollywood, CA

    Jack, if a REPORTER (featured earlier on CNN) could read it in one night, surely the elected politicians could do it. Perhaps they should invest some of their "hard-earned" salaries in an Evelyn Woods Speed Reading & Comprehension Course... After all, aren't they supposed to be the VERY BRIGHTEST of us all? This goes for ALL the representatives. If they want the job, then they should invest in whatever's best to do for all of us, including themselves.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  88. Linda in Charleston, SC

    That it can't been seen so it is tranparent, lordy Jack did you have to ask?

    February 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  89. Bennett

    What's wrong with us....This isn't a new bill...and yes...if you can read...you should be able to read everything that has been changed from the start. And what's clear about Iraq or the patriot act? I've been there a few times and it's still not clear....better but not clear....

    February 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  90. Mark USA

    Nominees with tax problems, lead lined stimulus bill, Iraq still there, Guantanamo open for another year, government distrust, DOW down again, more lay off’s, retirement account hits new low!
    Old George isn’t looking that bad after all.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  91. Cecelia

    No it is not transparent.

    I used to believe in Obama. My hope has lost all its audacity, however.

    His promises have been replaced by excuses too many times already and he is in the Whitelhouse one month. His promises are worthless and his staff is a replay of both Clinton and Bush.

    The change is that he will do the same thing they always did but with style.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  92. david corsanico

    The stimulus bill has been tossed around now since before the election, now we're supposed to feel sorry for the poor congress for not having enough time to read it over? Give me a break! Let's get on with doing what we need to do to stop the impending depression. I think the right wing is having an effect on our mainstream media who seem to be playing into their hands. America voted for action, not foot-dragging!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  93. Stephanie Comer

    Where is the change? I didn't get to read the first two bills Pres. Obama signed and I'm not getting to read the one they want to spend all my money on. So, what is new? Nothiing that I can see. Just spending more of my money on their pork projects instead on the the Republican pork projects. But hey, my husband and I still run a very small buisness, still pay our home mortgage, still pay our taxes, and so that means we will continue to fund everything the new administration can think up to fund with our money.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  94. George

    PATRIOT was pushed through in the middle of the night in an emergency. Now the stimulus bill has done the same thing.

    There has been no change in fact, just a change in rhetoric.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  95. Jim

    This is opaque government at best. Not transparent at all. This is continued status quo what is going to ruin our children's/children's children future. We cannot allow a rush to judgment on this bill or any other bill no matter how necessary it may be. Government has a long history of waste and we cannot afford to allow our futures to be dictated by whomever (China/Saudi) chooses to lend us the money. Maybe we (the government) need to buckle down more on our spending the way many of us (US families) have had to do in this time of crisis. Solutions are not completely new to this crisis as many have lead us to believe. We need to buckle down and bring more of our innovative solutions that have built America to its greatest heights to fruition. Wake up Congress deeper in debt is not a solution!!!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  96. Pat Edwards


    How many times does a Republican have to read the same thing to vote NO!

    Pat e
    Marana, Az

    February 13, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  97. william mccoy

    What a big waste. Instead of the Boston Tea Party we should consider a Washington Tea Party.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  98. Bruce Harris Sac.CA

    As a Republican I find in disconcerting that Boehner after having stated he had not read the bill still voted. I could understand if he abstained but isn't voting No just as irresponsible as voting Yes?

    February 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  99. jackharney

    NOT SO JACK. The elements of this stimulus plan haver been around now for several days. Two guys who both flunked out of college and have never been anything but disk jockeys or radio/TV guys, Limbaugh and Hannity, have been outlining all the parts of this bill for some time now. Anyone who doesn't know what's in it hasn't been paying attention. The speed of passing it has more to do wtih getting a jump on the turnaround, not trying to hide anything.

    Jack harney
    Venice, FL

    February 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  100. frank

    Jack, are u really so naive to believe in transparency from Washington ? Not even "Saint Barack" will be able to change things !!!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  101. Kooky in CA

    The economy is on fire and the Grand Obstructionist Party is standing in front of the fire trucks and won’t let them out of the fire house. Had there been anything resembling bipartisanism, there would have been plenty of time to peruse the bill. Blaming Obama for congressional incompetence isn’t fair. The bill has to be instituted ASAP or we might as well forget it.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  102. yves

    Hi Jack, the bill is not new. the house has only the amendments to read and the republicans wouldn't vote in favor of the bill even if they four years. The botton line is nobama for the republicans. I am an independent voter and I'll see them at the voting booths on next election.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  103. dorm

    This most of this bill been out for some time so gop could have been readingf the bill why they tell lies tv and some of the news people read it

    February 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  104. Priscilla

    It means we are living in the new world called The Democratic Dictatorship. Nancy Pelosi is the Queen, Harry Reid is the King and Obama is the Prince. Under this new Dictatorship reading is not required. God save us all.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  105. Peter X. Adams

    It appears that nothing has changed in the way Congress does business. It is laughable to even call it "business." To vote on a bill that has not even been read and vetted by the members merely because the President wants to sign it in a "photo-op" on President's Day is short-sighted and absurd, if not dangerous. Who really thinks a few days of review and discussion will hurt the process if it means producing a better bill to give the President? This action also violates the meaning of the phrase, "representative of the people." The people, us, expect our elected representatives to "represent" us. This is the responsibility they assumed when we gave them that right. "Representation" is what we fought for in 1776, How has our elected people forgotten their responsibility and traded it in for a political gain?

    February 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  106. Walter L. Johnson

    Congressmen don't actually read long bills. That is nearly impossible for just one person with other duties and appearances. Reading everythingt is the function of their employees, who know the Congressmen's views and District needs. They identify most problems and opportunities. Also Congress has committees and committee staff to share the burden.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  107. Douglas Gault

    it appears that the legislative branch has been pimp slapped by big money interest again. It really does look as if they are working the wrong side of the street and soliciting future campaign contributions. There is more to government transparency than a slide for an over head projector. Congress is definitely not on the same page.

    I hope President Obama Vetoes this bill, then calls a special meeting to addresses both branches of Congress, only to ask them just what the hell were they thing of? And not on my watch!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  108. ed kohler

    Just as much as the transparent "vaseline" we're all going to need, once we find out what's really in it

    February 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  109. Sandy in Arkansas

    It says everything is "as clear as mud" and probably just as full of dirt. From what I have read it is not even a bandaid to our problems. It is more like taking a knife or hatchet and making us bleed more. Haste makes waste and there has been nothing but haste and non-transparency in this whole deal.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  110. John T from SC 2

    When we start to trust lawmakers we start to be all MORONS.

    The rules have not changed..


    Over a dozen STATES are looking at passing resolution's saying the FED GOVT is not LEGALLY able to do what they are DOING.

    The federal GOVT isn't the ONLY gov't in this country. They don't act in isolation.

    Wow Obama really has a Lincon type America on his hands.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  111. Mike

    The sad part about it is,The democrats have been saying the
    republicans rushed in the last stimulus deal and didn't get it right.
    All I want to know is ? did they pull the E-VERIFY out of the bill
    and Cram this bill down the throats of us few or should I say
    Fewer American taxpayers Again! Can we have at least five working days to look at it ?

    February 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  112. GJH

    When you are caught between a rock and a hard place as our president is currently end...then something has to give. We the people are hurting NOW we can't wait any more for people to read and ponder...President Obama attempted to make the process more transparent but lets face it he is not working with statesmen (or women). They are certainly working with an old playbook.

    The Republicans particularly are showing their true colors – there was not this same indignation with the lack of transparency with the Bush administration...The power of the people changed the administration...we'll change the congress too – for people who know what it means to really serve.


    February 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  113. Rachel A.

    Cafferty, I am disappointed in you because you are adding fuel to the fire. Everyone acts like Pres. Obama showed up with the Republican deficit and he's trying to work with the sabatoging Republican's who are voting one way and complaining about the vote they just vote against. You are complaining that the Stimulus Bill is 1000, yet Geitner did not have enough details, now you are complaining the Stimulus Bill is too many pages. My main point is people are suffering out here the real people I know Washington and Repubs and you Cafferty are not effected by this recession but real people are hurting stop all of your negative drama.
    Rachel A. Washington State, Tacoma.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  114. Penny

    We probably do not have transparency with this Stimulus Bill, or Program. We havn't had it for 8 years and we do know that we are in an enormous problem that is going to get worse before it gets better.
    One comment got to me. Maybe it is up to President Obama to take a look at what the House has passed, what the Senate will pass and if it does not appear to put things right veto. I do believe that this President has tried harder than we have seen in the past. Which President has gone to The Hill and tried to talk to Congress and Senate? This President. He did not make the problem, let's see if and I sat IF it can be fixed. Does anyone at CNN want to lend money to those who really need it? It is get real time. Reporting on this is different from living it.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  115. Jamara in Los Angeles

    Here we go searching for reasons to not support our President. Yes, it should've been posted earlier, but at least we know what's going on. The Bush bailout was pushed through in a flash and look where it got us. NO WHERE!!!!!!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  116. Joe Lopez, Charlotte, NC

    The elected representatives, not the public, are the ones who read these bills. Some version of the stimulus bill has been around for two weeks and should have been read and re-read by the legislative representatives and staff. Each new version of a bill shows what has been deleted from and added to the previous version. The public has neither the understanding nor the inclination to proof read. The final version can be read in a few hours.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  117. larry

    W. Bush came to office promisiting to be bi-partisan, a compasionate conservative.

    B. Obama came to office promising change.

    Both are politicians, both said what they needed to say to win office. Obama is not off to the hoped for start. He overpromised to win, and now has no hope of being able to deliver. Now that he is elected, he is being a bit too clever. For example, saying the stimulous package will "save or create" 4 million jobs. No way to measure how many are saved. Much too lawyerly for me.

    D.C. is what it is, and it won't change until the average voter educates himself much more and looks at past actions, not words, of the politicians.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  118. PAT

    Thank you for standing up for honesty!

    February 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  119. WJ, Phoenix

    All of you who are suggesting that the "bill has been around for weeks" need to understand one thing.
    Whenever a bill is amended, rewritten, etc, it is completely redone.
    You must always read the FINAL VERSION of a bill as IT IS THE ONE THAT BECOMES LAW.

    You guys are probably the same people who signed their mortgage paperwork without having an attorney go over it with you first.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  120. Glen Davis


    It needs to be pointed out that the Republican commentator lied on the show about the stimulus bill:
    In 2004, President Bush issued an Executive Order establishing the position of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within the Office of the Secretary of HHS. The primary purpose of this position is to aid the Secretary of HHS in achieving the President’s Goal for most Americans to have access to an interoperable electronic medical record by 2014.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  121. Kelly

    No one is complaining about the details; but how this is being rushed through. Obama promised that we would have 48 hours to view it. How are the Senate supposed to vote on it when it is being rushed through; and Pelosi keeps adding pork back in. Obama should have made the bill himself and not let Pelosi create it from the ground up. Obama is supposed to be the President and leader not Pelosi,who created the original bill. Clinton would not have let this happen.

    Why are they rushing it? They are doing this because they know if the public becomes aware of all the pet project in this, they will vote against it. Genthner's problem was he did not have any plan at all and has known for months that this is his job. I think he made Obama look bad just like Pelosi is. Obama is not controling what is going on in his cabinet and still in campaign mode. What is the problem in waiting another 48 hours to make sure this bill is right. The sky is not going to fall like some Congressmen want us to believe. We need to do it right and make sure our hard earned money is been spent properly. Thanks Cafferty you did a great job on this

    February 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  122. Bre from Columbiana

    They all have assistants, secretaries, etc. Do it the old fashioned way. Split the 1071 pages up and each one pulls out the guts and gives it to their congressman. What do you mean they did not have time to read it. Take a course in speed-reading.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  123. Sunnie

    As transparent as lead....

    February 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  124. Al in illinois

    First and Foremost why do we think that anyone in congress who has a six figure plus income and the best medical coverage available really cares about the middle and lower income people.
    They do not want any money filtered down to middle and lower income people.
    What we need is JOBS in this country. People need to feel there job has a liveable income and adaquate medical coverage. They need to stabilize the cost of fuel that we use in our vehicles .
    If our goverment really wants our support in this crisis then they should help all americans not just the rich. And speaking of the rich how about some prison time for all the ceo's on wall street that caused this problem in the first place. That would give us all a good feeling that our goverment works for us.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm |