Slowing the Train on Economic Stimulus Legislation

By January 4, 2009Economy

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says there will be no stimulus bill for a brand-new President Obama to sign into law on January 20. Seems like a major shift in political positioning, but one that could lead to more well-considered, effective legislation. There are already so many claims being made on a stimulus bill that somebody’s bound to be disappointed to the tune of billions of dollars. That being the case, why not produce something that will work economically — we hope — rather than just please constituencies?

In any case, the Majority Leader’s comments on Fox News Sunday (interviewed by Chris Wallace) display a seriousness of purpose and absence of feigning and feinting. Very good. Much appreciated.

WALLACE: Now, there are reports that House Democrats may push for a vote on this not this week but the next week. Is that something that you have in mind?

HOYER: We had talked about that. I think that’s probably going to slip. It’s probably going to slip because this has been a complicated effort and a cooperative effort between the Congress and the incoming administration.

And again, we want to do this right. We want to have people know what we’re doing, and we want to make sure that we can accomplish the objectives that we see.

WALLACE: So let me — give me a little bit of a timetable.

HOYER: OK.

WALLACE: And I’m not going to — obviously, you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. Do you think that the House can pass this before Inauguration Day?

HOYER: Chris, I doubt that, frankly. In talking to Chairman Obey this week, it’s going to be very difficult to get the package put together that early so that it can have sufficient time to be reviewed, and then sufficient time to be debated and passed.

But we certainly want to see this package passed through the House of Representatives no later than the end of this month, get it over to the Senate, and have it to the president before we break for the presidential break.

WALLACE: And that’s mid-February.

HOYER: Early February, yeah.

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