McDermott To Offer Economic Stimulus Package As Amendment To Bailout

Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) said Thursday he will offer the entire $61 billion economic stimulus package as an amendment to the bailout bill.

“The Senate offered sweeteners to get the bailout legislation passed, but the American people need some good old fashioned meat and potatoes right now,” McDermott said in a statement. “The American people need Congress to pass a second stimulus package that includes, among other key provisions, extending unemployment benefits.”

McDermott voted for the first version of the bill on Monday.

House Democratic leaders are cool to the idea.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the stimulus package does not have the 60 votes necessary to pass in the Senate and that he is hesitant to make any changes to the bailout at this point.

“Changes are possible, but I don’t think probable,” Hoyer said. “I am not sympathetic to making the Senate wait, but I am sympathetic to making the economy wait.”

However, Hoyer did raise the possibility that the House could take up an extension of unemployment benefits this week as a stand-alone measure.

Still, McDermott is pressing on with his amendment.

“Unless we address the needs of Main Street, the bailout legislation as passed by the Senate will never be seen by the American people as anything except Congress pandering to Wall Street,” he said.