Agonizing Stimulus

Why are Democrats in the process of passing a supplimental stimulus bill to avoid teacher layoffs and prop up Medicaid when the Recovery Act worked so well? Not all House Dems are thrilled with the idea of returning to Washington to pass another spending measure, designed to do what the other stimulus package was supposed to do.

“You will certainly have many vulnerable and front-line Dems really upset about coming back because the Senate told them to — when they feel they are already defending their seats because of Senate inaction over the last year and a half,” a top aide to a usually loyal House Democrat said in an e-mail to POLITICO.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) was more blunt in an interview with the Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul: “I don’t know how they’re going to pass it,” he said. “I haven’t really checked with people, but there are a lot of guys who aren’t going to vote for it.”

As lawmakers book flights back to Washington for Monday evening, many House Democrats facing reelection jeopardy have become less responsive to party whips, making it hard to get a firm vote count.

Still, legislative failure seems unlikely and would be an acute embarrassment for the majority party. In the Senate, the measure was approved Thursday by all Democrats and the two Republicans from Maine after weeks of negotiations.