Bush Denies Deal on Stimulus
White House press secretary Dana Perino on Tuesday denied that President Bush is linking his support for an upcoming economic stimulus package to Democrats dropping their opposition to moving a Colombia free-trade agreement.
A report in todays Washington Post said President-elect Obama, during a White House meeting with Bush on Monday, had urged the president to back a second stimulus proposal and new aid for automakers, and that Bush had replied that he might support quick action on the measures if Democrats give on the Colombia deal. Democrats have rebuffed calls to consider the trade pact in next weeks post-election session.
Perino, who spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One, has repeatedly said Bush might consider a stimulus bill during the lame duck, and she also has suggested that Democrats need to take a look at the Colombia deal. But Perino has carefully avoided specifically suggesting that there is quid pro quo associated with the two initiatives.
Perino also rejected Democratic demands to use a portion of the $700 billion financial rescue package passed by Congress earlier this fall to assist U.S. automakers. She said the terms of the legislation dictate that the funding go toward the country’s troubled financial institutions.
Perino added, however, that the White House would be open to other initiatives, including measures that might accelerate assistance to the automakers in the form of an already-approved $25 million loan package.