Pelosi Wants Second Stimulus

Posted July 15, 2008 at 12:32pm

Emerging from a meeting with a team of economists, House Democratic leaders on Tuesday said to expect a second stimulus package and, separately, predicted that President Bush could sign emergency housing legislation into law as soon as next week.

“We will be proceeding with another stimulus package,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

Pelosi wouldn’t say what specific items will be in the package or whether Democrats are aiming to pass stimulus legislation before the August recess.

“We have to work with the president on a timetable,” the Speaker said.

Items being discussed for the package include food stamps, state Medicaid dollars, low-income heating assistance and infrastructure funding. Another round of rebate checks is also “a possibility,” Pelosi said.

The last round of rebate checks helped the economy but was “certainly not enough to offset” the growing costs of gas and food, the Speaker said.

Pelosi said an “essential” component to stimulating the economy is swift passage of housing legislation by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). The Senate passed its version of the bill last week; it currently awaits House changes and a thumbs up from the White House.

“We will not leave for the August break until this is law,” she said.

Frank said lawmakers “are on track” to add in emergency protections for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as requested by Treasury officials, along with some minor changes, and ultimately send it to the president for his signature next week.

In light of House GOP leaders calling for hearings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as opposed to taking immediate action to stabilize the market, Frank wondered aloud whether Republicans were on the same page with each other.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is saying to “move quickly” to bolster the two government-sponsored entities, while House GOP leaders are saying “they want hearings,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

“When I became chair of the Financial Services Committee, I didn’t know I would have to be a referee of Republican family disputes,” Frank said.