Government’s Economic Stimulus Package Under Fire
Should the federal government pump more money into education and job programs to address increased layoffs in industry? It is a question dogging House and Senate lawmakers as they try to reach agreement on an economic stimulus package.
The debate, which has led to delays in action on budget bills, highlights classic differences between conservatives and liberals. Most Republicans want a stimulus package consisting primarily of tax credits and other incentives to encourage business expansion. But many Democrats want more direct spending as well to help the unemployed.
So far, GOP legislation “does not adequately address the urgent needs of millions of jobless American working families,” says Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.
But in the Senate, where Democrats had brought to the floor a $73 billion package with considerable new direct spending, Republicans blocked consideration of the plan in a largely party-line vote.
Some Republicans have offered a modest package of education and job training incentives. In the House, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, has proposed $3 billion for a national emergency grant program to help workers laid off by the recent downturn in tourism and other industries. States also could get funds to help other ailing industries and address problems caused by plant closures.
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