There is a serious case of bailout fatigue on Capitol Hill, and there are severe budget pressures, a Senate Democratic leadership aide said.
House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said shes not sure whether the time is right to pass another stimulus package, given that so much has yet to be spent from the first one. Slaughter said the original package should have been larger and focused more on infrastructure.
The first stimulus package would have been an awful lot better if we hadnt had a futile attempt to get Republican votes, Slaughter said.
However, Slaughter said she likes the idea of passing the Oberstar transportation package. That would put people to work, building things we need anyway, she said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Assistant to the Speaker, said leadership is watching the situation closely but believes the economy is already starting to turn around. All the signs point to the economic recovery bill working as it was proposed, he said.
He acknowledged that there have been discussions about passing the transportation bill or other items, but he said paying for them is another matter.
The question on all of these things is how are they financed, Van Hollen said.
Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) said leadership hasnt yet decided what to do.
Weve had a series of discussions about the jobs situation, Miller said. The Speakers had a number of conversations with us about the need to do something here.
Republicans, meanwhile, arent waiting to pounce.
Democrats promised the stimulus would create jobs immediately and keep unemployment below 8 percent, said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). With 3 million additional jobs lost and unemployment nearing 10 percent, why would they double down on a strategy that just isnt working?
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.