The Washington Times - January 2, 2009, 06:21PM

The House GOP reacted angrily Friday afternoon to comments by a top Democrat who said that Republicans should have learned a “lesson” in their electoral defeat this fall, which would lead them to go along with plans for a trillion dollar stimulus spending bill.

Republican aides also said that while they welcome the opportunity for their leaders to meet with President-elect Barack Obama on Monday, they have been shut out of talks over the stimulus package.

Republican leaders in both the House and Senate sounded alarms earlier in the day about reports that Democrats are planning to rush the stimulus bill to the White House on or just after Inauguration Day for Mr. Obama, which is Jan. 20.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, who is the main liaison between the Obama transition team and Democratic leaders in the House, said Friday his party will use an “expedited process” to move the spending bill, in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

And Mr. Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Republicans could help craft the package but said their inclusion in the process was conditional.

“The Republicans have a choice that they’ve got to make coming out of this election, and that is, what lessons did they learn?” Mr. Van Hollen said.

Mr. Van Hollen said he was “hopeful that the Republicans will choose” to cooperate with Democrats rather than obstruct the spending package.

Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, did not take kindly to the remark.

“If Mr. Van Hollen believes that confiscating one trillion of taxpayers’ money in order to fund special-interest pet projects is the type of ‘change’ that most Americans want then he probably has a few lessons to learn as well,” Mr. Smith said.



Jon Ward