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Bill Laforme

US Congress divided on the need of a new stimulus package

by Bill Laforme

9 July 2009

Some members of Congress are starting to raise the prospect of a second federal stimulus package, despite the massive deficits that have been piling up in recent months.

A Reuters report quoted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer this week as saying that "we need to be open to whether we need additional action." At the same though, the wire service noted that Hoyer says he believes the current $787 billion stimulus bill seems to be working by preserving jobs that could have been otherwise lost.

Reuters also quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying that there seems to be no need for another stimulus bill at this point, with some green shoots of economic activity starting to become more visible.

A second stimulus bill could be more difficult to manage and approve from a political standpoint because of growing concern about the size of the U.S. national debt and annual deficits, which consume billions of dollars in annual interest payments alone.

Regardless, optimism about the economy does seem to have stalled in recent days, with stock markets reversing some of their recent momentum and oil prices retreating somewhat over concern that previous gains were the product of premature economic optimism.

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