It appears that President Obama has asked House Dem leaders to jettison another provision sought by liberals from the stimulus bill as a way of placating Republicans.
As I noted below, anonymous House Dem staffers told Politico that Nancy Pelosi and the House Dem leadership were dropping from the bill the so-called “cram downs,” which give judges the power to renegotiate mortgages on terms that are better suited to homeowners who are in trouble. House liberals wanted this, and it was unclear why the leadership had done this.
I’ve just confirmed from a senior House Dem aide that the House leadership did this at the behest of Obama aides, who asked the leadership to chuck the provision. This is the second such move: It comes after the news this morning that Obama had personally appealed to Pelosi to drop family planning funds for low-income people from stim package — also to placate Republicans.
“The Obama camp said, `Don’t do it in the stimulus, we’ll do it in another bill,’” the aide told me, referring to the cram downs. “He thinks it’s controversial with Republicans.”
“Now Obama can say he’s trying to show a good faith effort with Republicans,” the aide continued. “He’s reaching out a hand to them, they keep slapping at it.”
Asked for confirmation, Pelosi spokesperson Brendan Daly would only say: “The Speaker has said that [the cram down measure] is a priority for her and for the caucus. We will work to pass it soon, whether in another vehicle or in a stand alone bill.”
One quick question about the politics here: Do Obama aides actually believe such gestures will win over Republicans? Perhaps, but it’s also possible that such measures are all about laying the groundwork in advance to blame GOPers and paint them as partisan obstructionists if and when most of them vote against the stim package, which they appear likely to do, no matter how many concessions Obama grants.