The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on whether to sign off on the second half of the $700-billion relief package for the nation’s financial sector. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s still on the fence about giving the White House another $350-billion to distribute as part of the massive bailout.
"I’m still evolving my position on that," Harkin says. "I’m very disappointed and upset about what happened to the first 350-billion. If I’d known they were going to do it that way, I never would have voted for it in the first place back in October."
Harkin, a Democrat, says he’s had several conversations with current Senator and incoming Vice President Joe Biden about the huge allotment of money and how it will be handled by the new administration.
"Any significant expenditures of money from this fund will have to be signed off on by Barack Obama," Harkin says. "That’s good, because now we know where the buck stops. Quite frankly, I trust Barack Obama to make better decisions for the middle class in America than I do some of these high-falootin’ economic advisors he’s got around him."
The incoming administration is proposing another widespread economic stimulus plan for the nation. Harkin says reports that Obama’s new plan may total between 800-billion and one-point-three trillion dollars are accurate.
"Yes, those numbers are in the ballpark," Harkin says. "In fact, the more we look at what’s evolving in the economy and job losses, the more it looks like it’s going to move up. It’s better to err on the side of too much than too little at this point in time. I think it’s going to be significantly more than 800-billion dollars, how much, I just don’t know." The version of the stimulus plan being unveiled today by Democrats in the U.S. House has a price tag of 825-billion.