via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.
Fate of stimulus proposal depends on election
results, and President Bush
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or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) joined the Democratic House leadership
in urging Congress to return following the elections to take up another
economic stimulus proposal.
The latest package would center on spending for infrastructure
projects, aid for states, energy assistance for the poor and extended
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has asked House committee
chairmen to hold hearings on what could be included in the
stimulus package and the Budget, Ways and Means, Education and Labor,
and Joint Economic panels plan to hold sessions in the coming weeks.
Reid also emphasized a desire to reform bankruptcy laws to prevent
housing foreclosures, to cut taxes for middle class families, as well
as his proposal to use the tax code to encourage companies not to move
Reid’s office said he would like to see a package costing
about $150 billion considered during the lame-duck session.
The latest House Democratic proposal would cost up to $300 billion,
but House leaders are said to favor a plan around $150 billion. Importantly,
Republicans and the White House do not support moving a stimulus bill
that large, and the fate of any stimulus package being enacted yet this
year is murky at best.
Background: In late September, Senate Republicans
objected to considering a $56.2 billion package (S 3604) with spending
for many of the items Democrats would like to include in a larger economic
measure. An economic stimulus package was enacted in February that focused
heavily on rebates (PL 110-185), and Pelosi expressed reservations Monday
about including them in a new stimulus package. “We have done
that,” she said. “There’s some discussion as to how
effective it was, how much bang for the buck. But certainly they would
be in the mix of consideration. But first we want some of the issues
that were not dealt with in the last package, because we want this to
truly be a recovery package.”
President Bush’s resistance to an economic stimulus package could
lead Democratic leaders to allow a vote on the U.S.-Colombia free trade
agreement (FTA) to win his support for the stimulus measure, some say.
However, a lame-duck Congress is rarely productive. In April, the House
voted 224-195 to no longer require quick action on an FTA once the president
submits it to Congress. At that time, Pelosi said a vote on the pact was
contingent on Bush supporting her economic initiatives.
But should the Democratic Party win as many congressional House
and Senate seats as current election polls suggest, any major topic
could wait until the new Congress.
This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or
retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.