Pelosi: ‘I Can’t Think in Terms of Stimulus Failing in Senate’

By Josiah Ryan | February 4, 2009 | 6:36 PM EST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

( - The idea of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package failing in the Senate is unthinkable, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told in her weekly press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday.
But the stimulus package, which passed the House last week without Republican support, is now facing stiff opposition in the Senate, and Republicans who oppose the bill said on Wednesday that they think they may now have a chance to stop it.
“First of all, I can’t even think in terms of it failing on the Senate side,” Pelosi told when asked if she was prepared to enter negotiations a second time with House Republicans, if the bill failed. “They have to pass their bill, and the bill that passes in the Senate is the bill that is negotiated over there – not a bill that is negotiated over here.”
The House version of the bill, which cost $819 billion, passed on Jan. 28 with a 244-188 margin – all the Republicans and 11 Democrats voted against the bill.
In the Senate, where the rules favor the minority party and the bill’s price tag is over $900 billion, the plan needs at least two Republican votes to pass, if all the Democrats support the bill.
Senate Republicans who oppose the package said Wednesday that the momentum may be on their side to derail passage.  
“Their [House Republicans] courage has been contagious across the nation and in the Senate, and has galvanized opposition to this massive spending bill,” said Sen. James DeMint (R-S.C), who has been leading opposition to the bill in the Senate. “Every day the support for it is deteriorating and we now have a chance to stop the bill and replace it with a real economic stimulus plan.”
“Americans are outraged that the Democratic majority has used the economic troubles of this country as an excuse to pass the largest spending bill in history,” added DeMint.
Erica Suares, a Senate relations deputy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told that she is not surprised that Democratic leaders do not yet want to consider the possibility of the bill failing in the Senate.
“They don’t want to consider it, and they are not going to talk about it at this point,” Suares said. “They still have this week, through the weekend, and next week to get this bill done, and they don’t want to consider that it might fail.”
Suares noted that the Obama administration probably will not give up even if the bill fails in the Senate, because he has “hung his hat” on the passage of this piece of legislation.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Obama warned the nation of “catastrophe” if the stimulus bill does not pass.
"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future," said Obama.