Democrats Continue to Press for Stimulus

Posted February 6, 2009 at 10:59am

With nearly 600,000 jobs lost last month and the nation’s unemployment rate now at 7.6 percent, a trio of Congressional Democrats reiterated Friday their call to pass the economic stimulus bill without further delay.

But as he urgently called for the Senate to pass the $900 billion spending measure, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) conceded, “We still don’t have 60 votes in the Senate. We don’t have a filibuster-proof majority.”

Pointing to the Labor Department’s jobs report released Friday, Menendez said “people need an economic recovery package in the worst way.”

Menendez, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) maintained that spending in the stimulus package, which has been criticized by Republicans and even some Democrats as too costly, will create jobs and boost the economy in the short term.

The call from the Democratic trio came as a bipartisan group of moderate Senators continued closed-door negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to trim the bill’s size by some $100 billion.

“This is going to be a tough vote,” Casey said. “There will be lots of things we’d like to change or don’t like, [but] we still have to vote.”