Pelosi Statement on Today’s Economic Forum

2008-07-15 15:59:00

    WASHINGTON, July 15 /EMWNews/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi and

House Democratic leaders held a news conference today with economic experts

following an economic forum this forum. At the forum, five national

economic experts endorsed Democrats' call for a second stimulus package to

further jumpstart the economy. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks and

selected excerpts from Q and A:

    "Good morning. This morning, we had the fourth in a series of economic

forums about the state of our economy and a need for perhaps another

stimulus package. We were joined by a number of our House leadership. This

is in addition to some of the meetings that we've had to specifically

address energy, infrastructure, and health care and their relationship to

our economy. We're very blessed to have the intellectual resources of so

many leaders in our country, to help us make the proper public policy to

meet the needs of all of America's families. That is the New Direction of

this Congress.

    "Today, we had the participation of the former Secretary of the

Treasury, Dr. Larry Summers; Dr. Alan Sinai from Decision Economics, Inc.;

Alan Blinder of Princeton University; Douglas Elmendorf of the Brookings

Institution; and Rebecca Blank of the Brookings Institution.

    "Our focus was on the state of the economy, the need for another

stimulus package, and what that would contain, the impact of the price of

oil on our economic growth, and issues that relate to mortgage foreclosure

crisis in our country, among others.

    "I want you to hear from our special guests and to say that we will be

proceeding with another stimulus package and we hope that we will once

again be able to work in a strong bipartisan way with our colleagues here

in the Congress and with the President of the United States, because even

though we believe that the initial recovery rebates had a positive impact,

it certainly is not enough to offset the rising prices in gasoline, in

food, in fuel, in health care, in education, and other rising costs while

the purchasing power of Americans' income is going down."

    Selected excerpts from Q&A

    On Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac:

    "I want the record to show that under Chairman Barney Frank's

leadership, as chairman of the Financial Services Committee, in April 2007,

a GSE reform bill was passed by the House of Representatives. Part of it

was in the stimulus package earlier this year; it was passed again in May.

So he has been way ahead on this issue. He saw, down the road, the need for

this reform. Earlier than others. That's called leadership. The President

of the United States today in his press conference is calling upon Congress

at long last to pass this legislation. With all due respect to all of the

wishes of all of the Members, the priority for us is for the message to be

clear: Congress will act, we will act expeditiously, we will get this job

done, and we will not leave for the August break until this is signed into

law, which is just a matter of about 10 legislative days."

    On Second Stimulus Package:

    "As you heard, our distinguished experts here say, again, something

targeted, temporary, and timely, as were our criteria before, is very

important. So I would hope the President wanted that before, I would hope

that they [tax rebates for the middle class] would part of any package. But

we can't have them exclusively dominate the package. We have to have

assistance, direct assistance, in terms of the other issues that were

named: food stamps, LIHEAP, and the issues that relate to infrastructure,

Medicaid, aid to the states. But again, this is the menu from which we will

choose and we will have to work in a bipartisan way because this

legislation must be signed into law."

    "We have to move the Barney Frank/Chris Dodd bill; that will be part

of, I think, stimulating the economy. That will be our biggest initiative.

We will have legislation relating to energy that will be coming to the

floor in the next couple of days. All of these things to grow the economy.

We have to work with the President on a timetable.

    "The President said in February, when the first bill was passed, and we

did it in record time, we worked together in a bipartisan way, that he

didn't want to do any of these other things: unemployment insurance, food

stamps, LIHEAP, aids to states in arrest, because he wanted to just do the

rebates, he wanted to see how they worked. Well, I think they had a

positive effect except they have been offset, as has been said by our

experts, by the rising costs in other necessities for the American people.

So while they may have saved the second quarter from a technical definition

of a recession, the fact is that we are into a third quarter and we need to

have another stimulus package. Last time, it took the testimony of Chairman

Bernanke to convince him of that; hopefully he will hear from his financial

advisors, although Bernanke is independent of the President, I hasten to


    In addition to the Democratic Members of Congress, the following

experts attended the forum:

    -- Rebecca Blank - Brookings Institute; former dean of Gerald R. Ford

School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

    -- Alan Blinder - Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics,

Center for Economic Policy Studies, Department of Economics, Princeton


    -- Douglas Elmendorf - Brookings Institute; former principal analyst,

Congressional Budget Office

    -- Allen Sinai - Founder, Chief Global Economist and President,

Decision Economics Inc.

    -- Larry Summers - Professor and Past President, Harvard University;

former Treasury Secretary

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