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Obama Responds to Senate Energy, Tax Cut Concerns

Politico reports Obama moves toward Senate Dems during Sunday talks:

The Obama team told about 35 Senate Democrats gathered at Sunday's meeting that it would grow the size of an energy-tax incentive package and modify proposed tax credits for individuals and for businesses that hire new employees, according to meeting attendees

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"It's very clear they've listened, they've heard and that they're moving to respond," said Sen. Kent Conrad ... "It was very, very healthy. They're not defensive, not arguing back, they're listening, they're attempting to hear and they're responding."

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Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) both said that Obama's team signaled that their new proposal would double the funds dedicated to energy tax credits, to at least $20 billion.

"They're moving in our direction," Boxer said, adding that the Obama team assured Democrats that the money given to state governments would reach cities and counties suffering from budget shortfalls.

The Hill reports: "Democratic senators have set a goal of Feb. 13 to pass an $800 billion economic stimulus package proposed by President-elect Obama. Senate Democrats said they made significant progress during a rare two-hour Sunday meeting with Lawrence Summers, a senior Obama aide who will head the National Economic Council."

Speaker Pelosi pledges: No Earmarks.

McClatchy assesses McConnell's weak hand: "[Senate Min. Leader McConnell,] who has used filibusters to block legislation he deems unfavorable, may have to fight to keep moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania from joining Democrats on such key votes as the proposed $1 trillion economic stimulus package, environmental protection measures, broadening health care coverage and stem cell research."

Bill Scher is the executive editor of LiberalOasis.com and the online writer/editor for Campaign for America's Future . He is the author of Wait! Don't Move To Canada!: A Stay-and-Fight Strategy to Win Back America , a weekly contributor to Air America Radio's The Sam Seder Show and a fellow at the Commonweal Institute .

 
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