Peanuts For The Peasants...
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress must consider an economic recovery program and has ordered hearings to determine the size and provisions that should be included in the plan.
``A recovery package is needed,'' and it may have to be higher, Pelosi said, than the $56 billion plan that was passed in the House and blocked in the Senate last month.
Pelosi said there was agreement in support of a recovery package among a group of economists, including former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who met with Democratic House leaders today to develop a stimulus plan.
Pelosi said last week that she may call lawmakers back to Washington to work on a new stimulus package that includes infrastructure spending and extended unemployment benefits.
If passed, it would be the second economic-stimulus plan enacted this year, after President George W. Bush in February signed into law a $168 billion measure that sent tax rebates of as much as $600 to individuals. Checks went to 111 million households beginning in May.
Calls for a new stimulus package are growing after Congress earlier this month passed a $700 billion rescue plan for financial companies amid a global credit crunch that has sent stock markets plunging in recent weeks.
The House approved a $56 billion stimulus package last month that was blocked in the Senate by Republican opposition. The plan would have extended unemployment assistance and increased spending on food stamps, highway and other infrastructure work, and aid to state governments.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said today that the Democrats are considering ideas that wouldn't provide stimulus in the short term. Still, he said the administration isn't taking a position on Pelosi's plan since ``there is no stimulus bill to oppose.''
Pelosi, before meeting with House Democratic leaders and economists today, said the U.S. is ``at a very challenging moment.''
``Every one of the people who is here today will take us to a new place in our thinking on how we, again, protect the taxpayers, create jobs, stabilize our economy and the markets and do so in a way that is fair to the American people,'' Pelosi said.
Brian Faler - October 13, 2008 - source Bloomberg