Dems fighting amongst themselves over stimulus

Tension between House and Senate Democrats continues, despite an official agreement on the bill.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 12, 2009 3:15PM (EST)

It's tough to be sure exactly what happened on Capitol Hill yesterday, when key Senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, announced an agreement on the stimulus only to have to go back into negotiations with House Democrats. But it definitely isn't the most warm and fuzzy atmosphere over there lately, even within the Democratic Party.

Admittedly, even with the infighting going on, the speed with which a deal was reached was remarkable. Still, this seems to be one of those situations where compromise made few people happy, especially House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Politico's Glenn Thrush has sources giving him different sides of the story, with some saying that Pelosi felt she'd been "rolled" by Reid, while others close to the speaker said it was the other way around, that she'd allowed him to announce a deal and then held out in order to get a bargaining position.

Other reporters, though, have heard Pelosi was angry over how the negotiations played out. CNN's Jessica Yellin reported Wednesday night that the congresswoman "was enraged for a period of time today... the president himself had to get on the phone at one particularly touchy point during the day."

Pelosi also apparently had more discontent within her caucus to deal with than Reid did. There were some senators, like Iowa's Tom Harkin, who publicly expressed their anger over the final bill, but there are more liberals in the House than in the Senate, and the Senate had more control over the legislation. Thrush also reports that one meeting of the House Democratic caucus featured a bit of yelling between two members, California's George Miller and Hawaii's Neil Abercrombie; they were reportedly arguing over the merits of the final bill.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Harry Reid Nancy Pelosi D-calif.