WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday he would consider supporting a second economic stimulus bill, but said people need to give the package that passed in February more time to work.
The second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives said Republican complaints that the nearly $800 billion measure has failed to boost the U.S. economy are premature.
"Certainly, I don't think we can make a determination as to whether or not that's been successful - certainly as successful as we want it to be, certainly not as quickly as we want it to be," Hoyer, of Maryland, told reporters. But he added, "I think we need to be open to whether or not we need additional action."
Hoyer said it was too soon to say the February stimulus bill - which passed without a single GOP vote in the House and only three in the Senate - is not working. He said job losses have "substantially decreased" in recent months, and that the recovery package has prevented many people from being laid off from their jobs.
"In fact, we believe it is working," he said.
No legislation has been put forward so far.
In pushing for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama administration said it would be paid out quickly to save or create 750,000 jobs by early August. Without it, administration officials argued, unemployment could top 9 percent by 2010.
Federal jobless numbers already have overshot expectations, rising to 9.5 percent in June. Many leading Republicans say the measure has been a waste of money, while some economists - like Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman - argue the original measure was too small.
Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Sunday that the administration "misread how bad the economy was," but he told ABC's "This Week" that the pace of the program would be increasing.