Congressional Democratic leaders on Thursday said they will postpone work on an as much as $150 billion economic stimulus package until January 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports (Reddy, Wall Street Journal, 11/21).
Senate Democrats on Monday introduced a $100.3 billion stimulus package (S 3689) that included $37.8 billion in additional federal Medicaid funds for states and $1 billion in additional funds for NIH, among other provisions (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 11/18). In September, the House approved a $60.8 billion stimulus package that included $14.7 billion in additional federal Medicaid funds for states and $1.2 billion in additional funds for NIH, among other provisions, but the package failed to pass in the Senate (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 9/29).
Congressional Democrats “don’t appear to have enough support for a major stimulus program before January,” as Republicans have raised concerns that such a package would increase the federal budget deficit unnecessarily and would not help the economy in time, according to the Journal.
Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff to President-elect Barack Obama, said that the new administration would make the enactment of a stimulus package the “first order of business” next year. “Obama has indicated a willingness to set aside concerns about deficit spending in the short run to restore the economy,” the Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 11/21).
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