As job losses in the United States have leaped, a second economic stimulus package has become "warranted and necessary," House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer told CNBC Monday.
“We’ve seen unemployment numbers spike up to 6.1 percent, and we’re worried about people running out of their unemployment insurance,” said Hoyer (D-Md.). “We’re worried about people who are going to be faced with heating bills that they can’t afford. States are being stretched with their Medicaid obligations.”
Hoyer said that, unlike the previous stimulus package with its tax rebates, Congress should invest in programs that address unemployment and infrastructure. Such steps would create jobs and spur the economy, he said.
(Watch the accompanying video for the full interview with Rep. Hoyer...)
During the second quarter, an emergency dose of government stimulus helped the U.S. economy grow at a 1.9 percent annual rate—a soft pace, but enough to help take the country off a path to recession.
Hoyer criticized the Bush administration for overseeing the loss of more than 2 million jobs this year, compared with the Clinton administration in 2000, which created about 1.4 million jobs over an eight-month time frame. "So clearly," he said, "we have still not stimulated the economy so that people have jobs and some security."
In terms of taxes, Hoyer said it's important not to add to the $1.6 trillion in national debt that the Bush administration had already racked up.
“If we pass the [second] stimulus package, it doesn’t make sense from our perspective to both stimulate and depress at the same time—which is the principle we applied to the first stimulus package,” said Hoyer. “We did not raise taxes—in fact, we gave tax benefits to businesses along with rebates to individuals. But in the long term, we want to see a fair taxation system, and we want to see the government pay for what it buys and stop the spiraling deeper into debt—that is not helpful to our country.”
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