|House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a $150 billion stimulus package is necessary.|
Lawmakers may weigh $150b plan
WASHINGTON - After consulting with Barack Obama, Democratic leaders plan to call Congress back to work after the election in hopes of passing legislation that would include extended jobless benefits, money for food stamps, and possibly a tax rebate.
Lawmakers are set to consider a $150 billion proposal to boost the economy. The measure would extend jobless benefits, provide more money for food stamps and finance public works projects such as rebuilding bridges and roads.
House Democrats have announced plans for an economic forum today "to help Congress develop an economic recovery plan that focuses on creating jobs and strengthening our economy."
Democrats said Obama's campaign has been involved in discussions on a possible stimulus package. The party's presidential candidate, running ahead in the polls, has outlined his proposals for stimulating the economy.
Democrats are increasingly confident of capturing the White House and increasing their majorities in the House and Senate on Nov. 4.
If they are successful, a lame-duck session of Congress two weeks later would allow them to start work on a response to the credit crunch that has sent stock prices plummeting.
It often takes two or three months for a new Congress to begin turning out legislation, particularly when a new president is settling into the White House.
On the other hand, by attempting to pass legislation next month, Democrats would have to negotiate with President Bush, whose term runs until Jan. 20, 2009. Additionally, Senate Republicans could block any measure they opposed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters in Denver on Wednesday that a $150 billion stimulus package is necessary.
Her spokesman, Brendan Daly, added, "Congress just worked in a bipartisan way with the administration to pass an economic rescue plan to help stabilize our financial markets, and we must now work together to pass a jobs creation and economic recovery stimulus package."
Obama has said previously he favors $25 billion to help states meet their own needs, $25 billion for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, and $65 billion for tax rebates paid for by a windfall profits tax on oil.