Second Stimulus Package in Doubt

Posted November 9, 2008 at 11:38am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Sunday joined House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in casting doubt on the ability of Congress to pass another economic stimulus bill in next week’s lame-duck session.

“I still have a one-vote majority in the United States Senate. So there is no thought that I can come in and get done what I think should be done, and that’s a very robust, bold stimulus package because I have the same votes I had before the election,” Reid said in an interview on CNN’s Late Edition. “So I am going to talk to my Republican counterparts, and say, ‘Are you going to help me get this passed?’ If they say ‘no,’ … there is no reason for me on the floor to have a vote that I know I am going to lose.”

Still, Reid held out the possibility that he could garner bipartisan support for another extension of unemployment benefits. But a broad stimulus that would inject federal money into road and construction projects appears unlikely, Reid indicated, because of Senate GOP and White House opposition.

Hoyer made a similar point on Friday. “Clearly, there is no point in us doing something if the administration takes the position that they’re not going to sign something,” Hoyer told reporters.

Congress is scheduled to come back on Nov. 17 for a weeklong, lame-duck session, primarily to pass an economic package. If that item is stripped from the agenda, lawmakers will eliminate much — if not all — of the week’s legislative heavy-lifting.