Despite some minor missteps -- like underestimating the extent to which Republicans will bargain in bad faith while the economy collapses -- President Obama can today celebrate the success of his first major legislative push.
Moving with lightning speed, key lawmakers announced agreement Wednesday on a $789 billion economic stimulus measure designed to create millions of jobs in a nation reeling from recession. President Barack Obama could sign the bill within days.
"The middle ground we've reached creates more jobs than the original Senate bill and costs less than the original House bill," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of the participants in an exhausting and frenzied round of bargaining.
The bill includes help for victims of the recession in the form of unemployment benefits, food stamps, health coverage and more, as well as billions for states that face the prospect of making deep cuts in their own programs.
It also preserves Obama's signature tax cut _ a break for millions of lower and middle income taxpayers, including those who don't earn enough to pay income taxes.