The US economy’s deepening gloom is stoking talk of more stimulus just as a first giant infusion of spending kicks in, potentially handing President Barack Obama a tough political sell.
“We have to keep the door open to see how it goes,” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, before stressing Thursday that a second stimulus package was not “in the cards” for now.
But House appropriations committee chairman David Obey says he has already directed aides to start drafting another stimulus proposal, and fellow Democrat Alcee Hastings has said the idea is under active consideration among lawmakers.
Fears that the first stimulus round would prove insufficient, despite its eye-popping price tag of 787 billion dollars, were expressed by many economists before it was enacted last month.
But politically, Obama is already running into disquiet over the hefty costs of his domestic policy agenda, not just from Republicans but from fiscally conservative Democrats.
“Whatever conceivable Stimulus Two you can think of, there are clearly going to be some significant headwinds facing the administration,” said Andrew Taylor, political science professor at North Carolina State University.
“You’re admitting some sort of failure for the first package, which was only passed by the narrowest of margins in the Senate, and you’re adding to this crisis of confidence,” he said.
However, failure was not on Obama’s mind Thursday at a White House meeting with state officials charged with implementing the first stimulus, known formally as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.