WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday that Democratic congressional leaders continue to talk to the Bush administration about a stimulus package, but if there's no deal, there would be no reason for a lame-duck session of Congress.
"Clearly there is no point in us doing something if the administration is going to take the position that they're not going to sign something," Hoyer told reporters Friday morning.
House Democratic leaders have been discussing a $60 billion to $100 billion stimulus package. The bill now being negotiated with the White House and Senate Republicans would include an extension of unemployment benefits, an expansion of the food stamp program, assistance to the states, and money for infrastructure projects.
Democratic leaders are also trying to figure out how Congress can help the struggling U.S. auto industry.
CEOs of the "Big Three" U.S. auto companies and their labor union met with congressional Democratic leaders Thursday on options for an assistance package to supplement the $25 billion in loan guarantees Congress approved in September.
Hoyer said a vote on some aid for Detroit "could be" a reason to call Congress back, even if there was no agreement on a stimulus. But the Maryland Democrat declined to give any specifics on what Congress is considering in terms of aid. He did say, however, that he does not think the automakers would be able to access money from the $700 billion economic bailout Congress has authorized.
Hoyer said the new Congress will focus on the economy first, pointing to tax cuts proposed by President-elect Obama for the middle class and small businesses as the top of the agenda next year.
House rules mandate that an offset is required for any new spending measures, but Hoyer argued the economic crisis could mean that these tax cuts would not be paid for initially.
"Pay as you go is not a straightjacket," he said.