Gibbs Won't Rule Out Second Stimulus
The Obama administration will not "foreclose" the idea of introducing a second stimulus package should the first one prove ineffective. But at this juncture they have no plans for such a legislative maneuver.
From the gaggle aboard Air Force One comes this exchange with spokesman Robert Gibbs, who was pressed as to whether or not a follow-up economic recovery plan could be in order.
QUESTION: It seems like you're almost taking a wait-and-see kind of approach to this, but not closing the door to another step. Would I be incorrect in interpreting it that way?
MR. GIBBS: Well, without -- let me give you two answers. One, the President is going to do whatever he thinks is necessary to get our economy moving again. I think if you look back at the -- well, in just four weeks since -- four weeks since the President was sworn into office, we're going to sign the largest economic recovery package in this country's history that will do many of the things that I've enumerated -- most importantly, we think, save and create 3.5 million jobs. That's our focus, and I think there's obviously a lot of work to be done in ensuring that this money gets out quickly and gets into the hands that -- and in the hands of people that need it the most.
So I think the President is going to do what's necessary to grow this economy. But there are no particular plans at this point for a second stimulus package at the moment. I wouldn't foreclose it, but I wouldn't say, at the same time, there's -- we're readily making plans to do so.
Even if the president does not introduce a second economic stimulus, his administration is already gearing up to spend more money to jumpstart the economy. As Gibbs noted later in the gaggle, the White House will be sending a budget to Congress on the 26th of February, a few days after the President addresses a joint session of the legislative branch. That budget will include, it seems, at least $1 billion for high-speed rail, making up somewhat for a perceived short-changing of mass transit in the stimulus package.