Obama moves for third stimulus
The Obama administration is mulling a raft of emergency fixes to stimulate the economy before the midterms, including an extension of the research and development tax credit and new infrastructure spending, according to several people familiar with the situation.
Administration officials have been huddling almost continuously during the past week, brainstorming for ideas that would boost employment without hiking the massive federal deficit – with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner rushing to the West Wing for further consultations late Thursday.
The White House press office on Thursday refused to say how much a financial package might be, other than to say it won’t be a “second stimulus.” But the administration will have a tough time selling nearly any package to terrified, Obama-phobic Hill Democrats who increasingly blame the president – and his ambitious, expensive legislative agenda – for their dismal prospects this November.
The meetings, which had Obama huddling with his economic advisers twice in the last seven days, have yielded no specific proposals. But he’s given the team a priority: find ways to pay for as many of the ideas, mostly tax breaks, as possible without a deficit increase, an administration official told POLITICO.
The R-and-D tax cut, which Congressional Democrats have already considered would, for example, be paid for by closing overseas corporate loopholes.
But party leaders were dubious that even a modest, targeted spending bill could pass muster at the height of an anti-tax, anti-deficit, Tea Party-fueled Republican resurgence. . . . .