In the afternoon, the President was interviewed by five news anchors and confessed he had "screwed up" on the Daschle nomination.
19 Repubican and Democratic govenors signed a letter in support of the stimulus bill and urged prompt resolution: Swartzenegger of California and Crist of Florida among them.
Feb 4th/Wednesday: President Obama ordered limits on executive compensation for those financial institutions receiving extraordinary governmental assistance: a salary cap of $500,000 on top executives, and, if these executives receive any additional compensation, the extra income must come in the form of stocks that can't be paid up until taxpayers are paid back for their assistance. Those companies will have to disclose publicly all the perks and luxuries bestowed on senior executives and provide an explanation to the taxpayers and stockholders as to why these expenses are justified; and the massive severance packages are to be stopped, "we're taking the air out of these golden parachutes" the President declared. These limits apply to companies bailed out in the future, but may not apply to all companies. "This is America," Obama said. "We don't disparage wealth, we don't begrudge anybody for achieving success, and we certainly believe success should be rewarded; but what gets people upset, and rightfully so, are executives being awarded for failure, especially when those rewards are subsidized by US taxpayers, many of which are having a tough time themselves. Republican United States Senator Olympia Snow of Maine said she will offer an amendment to TARP
legislation that would compel any company who took TARP funds then issued exorbitant bonuses to pay the government back.
President Obama met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell, who reported on his trip to middle east.
Michell Obama spoke at the Departmentt of Housing and Urban Development and more agencies. Shaun Donovan is the new Secretary of HUD.
Obama signed the CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act, continuing health coverage to 7 million children and expanding to cover 4 million more kids in need. The embargo on states providing health care to legal immigrant children was lifted should those states opt to do so. The costs of the CHIP bill will be funded by a 62 cent increase in the federal tax on cigarettes, for a total cigarette tax of 1 dollar. "It is a downpayment on eventually providing health coverage to every single American," the President said.
President Obama hosted a cocktail party at White House this evening for some members of Congress.
February 5th/Thursday: The Washington Post guest OPED was none other than President Obama, who wrote, "...if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse."
President Obama traveled for the first time on Air Force One to Williamsburg, Virginia to meet with House Democrats at their Annual Issues Conference to talk about the stimulus bill. The President told them, "...then you get the argument...this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That's the whole point--That's the point."
February 6th/Friday: The President met with families of victims of the USS Cole bombing and 911 attacks to discuss his order to close Guantanamo and suspend prosecutions of those held there.
February 7th-8th/Saturday & Sunday: President Obama spent the weekend at Camp David.
February 9th/Monday: President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the National Security and Homeland Security Advisors to conduct an immediate cyber security review.
President Obama went to Elkhart, Indiana for a town hall meeting, where the President spoke about the necessity that the stimulus bill be passed. He answered questions from the town's citizens. Transcript.
By a vote of 61-36 the United States Senate cut of debate on the stimulus bill.