Congressional Republicans said they would work with Democrats to craft a plan to stimulate the economy, but only if GOP ideas are considered for a bill that could cost as much as $1 trillion.
"We need the right mix of tax relief and other measures to grow the economy," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement Monday.
The Democrats' plan to pass a stimulus bill before President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration next month gives Congress too little time to consider what's in it, he said.
"Taxpayers are in no mood to have a single dollar wasted, but it's not yet been explained how their tax dollars will be protected ... in a rush to spend their money," McConnell added.
His comments and a simultaneous statement by House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio indicate that Republicans are emerging from their political fox hole with a traditional call for smaller government—even as many in the GOP ranks have joined Democrats in support of government rescues for the ailing financial sector.
Democratic aides are working over the holidays on a massive bill to shore up the economy yet again.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democrats have said they want Congress to consider the legislation at a special session next month.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the House already has laid the groundwork for a stimulus package with numerous hearings and a $61 billion proposal the House passed in September.
"The state of our economy demands swift approval by both the House and Senate of an economic recovery and job creation package," Hammill said.
Obama is proposing a package of as much as $775 billion over two years, his advisers say, though they think add-ons by lawmakers could raise the price to $850 billion.
His advisers say an $850 billion plan could generate about 3.2 million jobs by the first quarter of 2011.
Some economists favor an even bigger spending stimulus: up to $1.3 trillion.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden said this month that lawmakers will not be allowed to attach earmarks— pet projects —to the legislation.
McConnell and Boehner said the Democrats' ambitious timetable leaves little chance to ensure those goals are met.
Both said there should be hearings on what's in the bill and that the legislation should be posted online for public review for a week before it's brought up for votes in the House and Senate.