WASHINGTON (July 16) - Democrats controlling Congress ratcheted up
expectations Tuesday for additional legislation to jump-start the
"We will be proceeding with another stimulus package," House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after meeting with several
Pelosi said that recently issued tax rebate payments of $600 to
individuals and $1,200 for married couples have helped the economy
but that more is necessary to offset the drag of higher gasoline
prices and other costs.
But President Bush cautioned in a White House press conference
that lawmakers should "wait for the stimulus package to fully kick
in" before passing another.
The Democratic effort is still in its formative stages, but most
of the proposals mentioned by Democrats were rejected by Bush
during negotiations that produced the earlier stimulus measure. A
new package probably won't be acted on before Congress returns in
September from its annual summer vacation.
New legislation could include: additional tax rebates, heating
and air conditioning subsidies for the poor, infrastructure
projects, higher food stamp payments and aid to the states.
Pelosi told reporters that she "would hope that (tax rebates)
would be part of any package" but that some of the Democratic
elements need to be attached.
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sounded
less than enthusiastic about another round of tax rebates.
"The first thing we need to look at before we look at tax
rebates is, what can we do to stimulate the economy?" Reid said.
"And that's infrastructure development. That's bridges, highways,
dams, and to put massive amounts of money into an infrastructure
for renewable energy."
The discussion over a new economic stimulus bill comes as
Congress is working to complete a broad housing rescue package to
give new mortgages to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing
And a voter revolt over record gas prices has generated heated
debate about further opening up the Outer Continental Shelf to oil
exploration. Bush called for Congress to focus first on housing and
energy legislation before turning to a new economic stimulus bill.
"Let's see how this stimulus package works and let us deal with
the housing market with a good piece of housing legislation, and
the energy issue with good energy legislation, and the trade issue
with good trade legislation," Bush said.