Hoyer Says Stimulus Possible This Week

Posted September 16, 2008 at 12:58pm

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday hinted that an economic stimulus package may be on tap this week and left open the possibility that Congress could come back into session later this year to address the crisis in the financial sector.

There is a “very good possibility” that a stimulus package will surface either later this week or early next week, Hoyer said.

The bill will be “limited, simple and straightforward,” he said, and will include infrastructure, spending and low-income heating assistance.

Not specifying whether he was referring to the stimulus bill or the CR, the Majority Leader also noted that disaster aid is “not going to be a separate bill. It’s going to be on something.”

Hoyer suggested that there may also be future action on a proposal by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to form a new government entity to deal with the fallout from the financial sector.

Hoyer said he has only had “brief discussions” with Frank about his idea to create a government entity similar to the Resolution Trust Corp., which was created during the savings and loan crisis.

It is “unclear” where Frank wants to go with this proposal, said the Majority Leader, and “quite obviously, this idea will have to be discussed with the administration.” Both factors mean that such a proposal will take time to hash out, he said.

“It’s not going to happen in the next 14 days. We’ll see what the rest of the year holds for us,” Hoyer said.

For now, Hoyer said he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “are focused on a Sept. 26 adjournment.”

The Majority Leader spelled out reasons why pushing back the adjournment date wouldn’t translate into more time for lawmakers to get other business done.

The three weeks following the target adjournment date include a string of holidays, Hoyer said, which means there are only about two days when Members could conceivably be back in session.

Even then, Members will be focused on campaigning and not in an ideal position to head back to Washington.

For those reasons, Sept. 26 “is that last practicable date we can meet,” Hoyer said.

Asked about the possibility of a lame-duck session, Hoyer added, “Of course it’s possible. We hope it’s not going to happen.”