Obama transition officials have made it clear to Horsley and others that pork, however, is a no-no. As one Capitol Hill Democrat puts it, "We need something that's stimulative and that produces jobs right now and leaves us with a stronger economy down the road. We're not building 'Bridges to Nowhere.' "
Watchdogs are skeptical. "We're staring down the barrel of a trillion-dollar deficit in the current fiscal year," says Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, who questions the wisdom of bailing out states by supersizing the national debt. It's also unclear whether GOP lawmakers will sign on. "Folks are hurting," says the top House Republican, Ohio's John Boehner. "But the American people know that more Washington spending isn't the answer." Whether he hops on board the train or not, federal dollars—and carloads of them—are about to leave the station.