Obama defends Summers on 2009 economic stimulus

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:45pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) arrives for a meeting with House Democrats at the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington July 31, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) arrives for a meeting with House Democrats at the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington July 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama pushed back on Wednesday against critics who complain that his former top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, was not aggressive enough in seeking more economic stimulus funds than Congress ultimately approved in 2009.

House of Representatives Democrats left a closed-door meeting with Obama saying the president defended the size of his administration's nearly $800 billion stimulus law and said it was all he could get from Congress at the time.

Summers and Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen are seen as Obama's leading candidates to replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term ends next January.

At the closed-door meeting, Obama said that he had not made any decisions on his choice of Bernanke's replacement, according to a number of House Democrats.

"The decision is not ready to be made. He was quite clear about that," Representative Steve Israel said.

"He did talk about Larry Summers' qualities, but he also said there were many other candidates with their own qualities. This meeting was not an endorsement or lack of endorsement of Larry Summers or anybody else," Israel said.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said that published speculation about a Bernanke replacement - which has suggested Obama was primarily focusing on two candidates - may not be accurate, but she did not elaborate.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters following the meeting that Obama did not bring up a discussion of the pending Fed nomination, but was responding to a question from a House Democrat.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen and Jim Loney)

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Comments (4)
CSParty wrote:
ANYONE that wanted to push for more stimulus should not be hired. The stimulus was called “”marginally successful”" and that is not even good by political standards. What is comical is Summers says he could not get more for the stimulus and the Democrats owned the Presidency, House and Senate with majorities. Now, the very same Democrats are raising concerns about this guy not being aggressive? To who, the Democrats? They owned the government at that time!

Jul 31, 2013 1:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
rolgo wrote:
The stimulus was a disaster. Billions and billions wasted, deeper in debt and the best it’s supporters can say is “it would have been worse without it”. Of course they can’t prove that but since have facts mattered to liberals?

Jul 31, 2013 2:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
rolgo wrote:
The stimulus was a disaster. Billions and billions wasted, deeper in debt and the best it’s supporters can say is “it would have been worse without it”. Of course they can’t prove that but since have facts mattered to liberals?

Jul 31, 2013 2:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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