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Van Hollen: Stimulus May Prompt Early Return

It is possible that House Democratic leaders will bring lawmakers back into session before Election Day to take up a bolstered economic stimulus bill, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said Friday.

However, Democrats are more likely to come back for a lame-duck session for advancing their package. Because of worsening economic conditions, the package will cost far more than the previously floated figure of $61 billion, Van Hollen told reporters following remarks at the National Press Club.

“There is certainly a lot of determination on the Democratic side” to pass a stimulus bill this year, Van Hollen said. “It would be good to get the support of Republican colleagues” at least on the idea of a package.

In recent weeks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been stepping up pressure on President Bush to endorse a stimulus bill that would include infrastructure spending, unemployment insurance, food stamps and state Medicaid assistance.

Echoing Van Hollen, a House Democratic leadership aide said that while a return before the election is not off the table, a lame-duck session is more likely.

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