Senate Democrats weigh new economic stimulus
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. Senate are weighing a new economic stimulus measure in the range of $35 billion for this year and 2009 as part of a budget plan that will be debated soon, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said on Wednesday.
Conrad, following a meeting with fellow Senate Democrats, said the fiscal 2009 budget now being written also could include about $40 billion to $60 billion in new infrastructure investments over five years.
The North Dakota senator said the stimulus spending would include increases in jobless benefits, more money for food stamps, and additional funding to help low-income families pay heating and cooling bills.
Senate Democrats had tried to insert these proposals into an economic stimulus plan considered earlier this month, but stripped them off in the face of Republican opposition and a desire to quickly pass a bill. Instead, a $152 billion economic stimulus law, consisting largely of tax rebates, was enacted.
The Democrats' budget blueprint also could contain provisions for a series of tax changes, including energy and education, but final decisions had not been made, Conrad said.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Leslie Adler)