- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said Sunday he would vote against the economic stimulus package being pushed through Congress in its current form.

Mr. McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate and one of President Obama’s closest links to the Republican Party, added that the Republicans members of Congress have been shut out of negotiations on the stimulus package.

“As it stands now, I would not [vote for the bill],” Mr. McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Republicans have not been brought in to the degree that we should be.”

Mr. McCain, long considered a maverick in his own party, said he would continue to lead the “loyal opposition” to the Democratic majority, but was sympathetic to his former opponent’s challenges.

“I don’t have to tell anyone in America this president faces greater challenges than any, probably going back to Abe Lincoln,” Mr. McCain said.

Democratic senators have defended the process to fast-track the stimulus plan for Mr. Obama’s approval.

“I think youre going to find a large number of Republicans voting for this package. I regret that Mr. McCain says he is not,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, minutes later on “Fox News Sunday.”