A second stimulus package that Democrats had hoped to get done before Congress breaks for the summer in August hit its first roadblock on Tuesday as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called its prospects dim.
I think its going to be really hard to get it done this work period, Reid said, referring to a second stimulus package that would contain many of the domestic projects that were dropped from the war supplemental bill.
Reid said that he would meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) later this week to talk about another package aimed at giving economic relief to Americans. The Majority Leader said earlier that House leaders could draft such a bill because it could be passed rapidly by the Senate.
During this four-week period, the Senate must grapple with a host of must-pass items. They include: renewing the foreign surveillance program, extending Medicare reimbursement for doctors, reauthorizing defense spending and tackling a global AIDS bill that the president supports.
Before the Senate broke for the July Fourth recess, Senate leaders decided not to fight the House on a pared-down supplemental to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, Reid proposed adding the additional spending wanted by Senators to a second stimulus bill that would include money for food stamps, a low-income energy assistance program and funding for hurricane-ravaged towns on the Gulf Coast. An extension of unemployment benefits was included in the war supplemental passed by both chambers before the recess.