Dems Hit With Revolt in the Ranks

Line-by-line lawmaking drives wedge into plans
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2009 8:37 AM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. works the phones from his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Congressional Democrats figured Obama's aggressive legislative agenda would face challenges from the GOP, but they've been surprised by squabbling within their own party that's broken out even before they've gotten to the new initiatives, the Washington Post reports. Among the people holding up the $410 billion spending bill leftover from last fall are the likes of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat balking at measures tucked in to loosen travel and trade restrictions on Cuba.

The internal revolt threatens to spread to major portions of Obama's proposed budget, with Democratic congressmen already signaling resistance on changes to crop subsidies, student loans, and Medicare drug benefits, among others. "They've been eclipsed by the tidal wave of the economy," says Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the House Democrats' chief fundraiser. "They are waiting in the wings."