House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling again for a lame-duck session of Congress to enact a stimulus program to shore up the sinking economy.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, said Wednesday that no decisions have yet been made on such a post-election session. But she did say that talks are continuing with the White House on the terms of such a package, which would include additional assistance for people who are out of work.
At a post-election news conference, Pelosi said a new economic relief plan in the lame-duck session could set the stage for more extensive stimulus legislation in the new Congress when Democrat Barack Obama is president and Democrats have larger majorities in the House and the Senate.
The economic crisis has worsened since the House passed a $61 billion aid bill in September, she said. “The need for more has grown.”
Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was in communication with the White House about a stimulus bill. But White House spokesman Tony Fratto said there was no change in the administration's opposition to a measure similar to the one in September that focused on increased federal spending to rejuvenate the economy.
Passing economic aid legislation this year would require the acquiescence of Senate Republicans, who blocked Democratic attempts in September to consider a $56 billion bill.
“The only way we can get anything done is with the cooperation of House and Senate Republicans and the White House,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
House Republican leader John Boehner said his party agreed on the need to strengthen the economy. “But it should come in the form of pro-growth policies that create new jobs, provide tax relief, and lower energy costs – not hundreds of billions in new government spending masquerading as ‘economic stimulus,'” said Boehner, R-Ohio.