Vowing to help President-elect Obama accomplish his goal of revitalizing the US economy, Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) discussed several key economic questions during his appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press Jan. 4th.
Reid refused to estimate the monetary size of the economic stimulus package but emphasized the need to build a broad consensus in Congress for its passage. He suggested that the economic stimulus package would address not only immediate job creation, but also the housing crisis, health care concerns, and a tax cut for working families.
‘We have to do something about jobs, infrastructure,’ Reid remarked. ‘That’s roads, highways, bridges, dams, water systems, sewer systems, classrooms, laboratories, libraries. And also I think we should understand that there’s a manufacturing component we need.’
Reid further indicated that improving national security by relieving the country of its dependence on oil through investments in renewable resources might be a part of the economic recovery package.
Economic recovery won’t be confined to the public infrastructure, he added. ‘We need to do something about housing.’ Reid hinted that the recovery package might include a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days as well as extra scrutiny of the $350 billion so far handed over to banks as part of the Wall Street bailout. He suggested that banks who have received bailout cash have refused to loosen credit for homeowners and potential home buyers.
In addition, Reid stated the economic recovery package might include a tax cut for working families as well as direct financial relief to state governments in order to allow them to avoid budget shortfalls that force either severe cuts in much-needed programs such as education and health care or higher taxes.
‘We’ll be working nights, we’ll be working weekends to get this done,’ Reid added. ‘We want to do it right the first time.’
Reid pledged oversight and transparency in the legislative process to pass the recovery package.