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Schumer Signals Longer Lame-Duck Session

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) hinted Monday that Democrats may have to extend the length of an upcoming lame-duck session to vet another round of economic stimulus.

Schumer, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said the Senate would return for “weeks after the election” to pass some type of economic package. Previously, Senate leaders had suggested the chamber would only return for a few days to wrap up any outstanding legislative business of the 110th Congress.

Schumer’s comments came on the same day that President Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered their endorsement of another stimulus bill. It remains unclear, however, whether enough Congressional Republicans will follow their lead.

The New York Democrat, who also serves as his party’s No. 3 Senate leader, said the stimulus package would be focused “directly at Main Street and the overall weakened economy.” He also said he believes support from Senate Republicans “is almost guaranteed,” now that Bernanke and Bush have warmed to the idea.

Speaking to the timing, Schumer said the Senate will need time to craft and pass a bill. Senators are staged to return for the lame-duck session on Nov. 17, two weeks after voters decide on a new president and new Congress.

“We will have to negotiate with the House and White House,” he said. “The elements of [the stimulus] will be determined by who wins.”

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