Anderson believes there isn’t justification for got a second stimulus package nor not is it a viable option in the current political climate. He asserts: “First, there’s no political support. Secondly, the budget deficit would be too large, and we will not be able to afford it with health care reform and the energy and environment measures. And lastly, it is not evident that the first stimulus plan is not working.” He maintains, however, that the administration should have placed a greater emphasis on public service jobs in urban areas. “It would have had a more direct impact on job creation.”
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee says that it will take time to initiate large stimulus projects in which contracts have to go through bidding and award procedures before workers can be hired. “That process has just started and we’ll have to see what the total impact of the bill is. When Clinton was in office we tried to have a $50 billion stimulus package and that was rejected as too huge. We have $600 billion yet to be spent so that could make a huge difference.”
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-South Carolina) doesn’t believe there’s a need for more stimulus at this point. In fact, Obama signed a bill last week he was pushing to further fuel economic growth. The president approved the Treasury Department to provide $7 billion to shore up the Highway Trust Fund. The fund, which distributes $40 billion a year to states for road and bridge projects, faced a cash shortfall due to dwindling fuel tax receipts and was in jeopardy of going broke. In the fall, Clyburn will seek reauthorization of the $500 billion highway bill, which would finance state and local infrastructure repair projects over a six year period – beyond the Recovery Act’s timetable. The legislation is currently set to expire on Sept. 30. Some congressional Democrats are concerned that Obama’s massive health care reform package could derail another gargantuan spending bill.
Clyburn says much of the American public was not clear about the main objective of the stimulus program. “The whole thing was a recovery package, but a big part of it was to stabilize economic conditions which meant stop the layoffs and keep people working,” he says. “I think people were looking at us to grow the workforce. That’s another thing that we didn’t emphasize enough, and that is how bad things were and how bad they were going to get if we didn’t do anything to stop the hemorrhaging. We emphasized job creation when we should have emphasized job saving.”
— Additonal reporting By Joyce Jones