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Democrats Plan Monday Session as GOP Presses for New Stimulus

House Republican leaders aren’t giving up hope that President Barack Obama is still listening to their concerns over the nearly $900 billion economic stimulus bill working its way through Congress. In a letter heading to Obama on Wednesday, GOP leaders say they were encouraged to hear White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs say Tuesday that Obama is open to alternative stimulus plans if they meet the test of creating 3 million jobs. The House Republican Working Group on Economic Recovery last week “presented a plan that would create more than twice that number based on research conducted by your nominee to chair the Council of Economic Advisors, Dr. Christina Romer,” the Republican letter states. The centerpiece of that plan is “fast-acting tax relief,” the Republicans argue. And according to Romer’s own research, the GOP plan will create 6.2 million jobs and do so “at half the cost to American taxpayers than the plan passed by House of Representatives last week.” The letter, signed by top Republicans including House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), urges Obama to “continue to consider our alternative plan.” Time is running out for Congress to submit a final economic plan to Obama by its self-imposed deadline of Feb. 13. The Senate is debating its version with an expected vote later this week. Its version is different than the House-passed package, meaning the two chambers will have to reconcile their differences next week in a conference committee. Aware of that ticking clock, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday reshuffled next week’s schedule and announced that the House will now meet on Monday in order to “facilitate work” on the stimulus bill. The House was originally set to reconvene on Tuesday. One Democratic aide said House leaders were already warning Members to prepare to be in session next weekend if the work doesn’t get done.

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