Pelosi: Stimulus to Obama by Presidents Day

Posted January 18, 2009 at 9:37am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday said everything will take a back seat to fixing the economy during the first 100 days of the Obama administration and that Congress would complete a massive economic recovery package by the Presidents Day recess in mid-February.

“We will have this package to the president’s desk by the Presidents Day recess, and if we don’t, we won’t have a Presidents Day recess,” Pelosi said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Pelosi dismissed criticism that the package will not be completed by the time President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Tuesday, saying leadership has slowed the process to allow for committee markups and bipartisan consideration of the package on Capitol Hill, as demanded by House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and other Republicans.

“That process is the bipartisanship,” she said.

She said a worsening economy necessitated a larger package, which will take more time to put together.

Pelosi noted that the package unveiled by Democrats late last week includes elements suggested by Republicans such as net operating loss carryback tax provisions designed to help business.

But she said Democrats were also listening to economic experts who say investment creates more jobs than tax cuts alone. Pelosi said the spending portions of the recovery measure were investments in science, technology and education, and were not “public works” projects.

She also predicted the tax cuts in the bill would bring Republicans on board.

Pelosi stressed that Congress’ focus in the near-term would be on immediate measures to fix the economy, but she said she wanted to address big-ticket issues such as President George W. Bush’s tax cuts before they expire in two years. “They have to prove their worth to me,” she said. Pelosi saluted Obama’s efforts to get a dialogue started on entitlement reform with a summit next month and said Congress would also weigh in. She called for a bipartisan process similar to the efforts initiated by former President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill in the 1980s.