October 6th, 2009
06:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Sources: Administration considering safety net measures

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Amid nervousness about states' economies and a growing unemployment rate, the Obama administration is considering a series of measures aimed at putting many Americans back to work before the 2010 midterm elections, sources close to the process told CNN.

The effort is largely being directed by the Treasury Department and Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, one source said.

Ideas include enhancing tax credit flexibility for small businesses, extending unemployment and health benefits and offering states temporary "loan packages" to help governors get through the worst of the recession.

Unlike the stimulus package, the loans to states would be voluntary: "We would like to avoid the stimulus problem," the source said.

Other options being examined by the White House, according to two Democratic sources close to the process, include extending the $8,000 tax credit for new homebuyers, set to expire November 30.

Some of the ideas, such as enhancing business tax incentives, would naturally appeal to Republicans. But problems remain, the sources said. The biggest is the price tag. Treasury is attempting to find a way to pay for the plans, but there isn't much money to be found.

Secondly, attempts at getting some Republican leaders in the Senate on board have not been fruitful. One supporter, however, is Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who has made the tax incentives a priority while she mulls over her vote on health care reform, the sources said.

There's also what the Democratic officials call "bailout fatigue" - people are tired of hearing about the government spending more money, particularly in the middle of the health care battle and potentially higher costs in Afghanistan.

And some of the items - such as extending unemployment benefits - do not create new jobs, as President Barack Obama pledged to do in Saturday's radio address, although they do provide a safety net to those who need one.

There is some concern at the White House over Republicans attacking a "second stimulus" bill, which would imply the first $787 billion stimulus effort failed, the Democratic officials said. That concern, along with worries over the cost, is why the White House will not call the effort a second stimulus bill, but instead will attempt to brand this as a small economic recovery plan aimed at sensibly enhancing the first, the sources said.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Shibumi

    Notice how Bo Bo's strategy to get people back to work center on tax cuts for states, small business and individuals. How can that be when the libutard mantra is "Taxe increase good, tax cut bad!"?
    Maybe Monkey Boy is following Reagan's strategy?
    Is it 2010 yet?

    October 6, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. aware

    Hand it out with one hand and take it back with the other.

    Sort of like saying one thing and doing another! :(

    October 6, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. Mark

    I don't think it's appropriate to plan job opportunities based on the schedule of midterm elections. That's just wrong and honestly....sick.

    October 6, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. No Hillary = No Obama

    Playing politics with people's right to earn a livelihood is disgusting. People need jobs now, not when it suits the timing of politicians.

    October 6, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. ICARE

    THROW lots of money into research to grow new GREEN energy jobs!!!! INvest!!!

    I was told that had Gore been Prez, Green energy would have taken off and we would have had ample jobs out there.

    Green energy, when unleashed, will create more jobs than we will ever need!!!

    Three things made America: God, Guts and Guns... nothing else...

    Thank God for the Clintons for believing in the future, otherwise, I'll be chipping on stones.

    October 6, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. malclave

    "series of measures aimed at putting many Americans back to work before the 2010 midterm elections"

    Whether the jobs last after the election is, of course, immaterial. All that matters to the Democrats is retaining power.

    October 6, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. JR

    What you bet that republican states reject it and democrat states take advantage, the GOP will ALWAYS put their parties desires ahead of the people.

    October 6, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Voter

    Get with it, Obama. You're in the big leagues now. The campaign is OVER. You have to start accomplishing something. Remember all that talk about CHANGE?

    Read up on the Great Depression. They BUILT things – bridges, roads, public buildings, public parks. Things that put desperate people to work and are still in place serving Americans to this very day. They did NOT fund "ideas to be developed" as you are now funding "education."

    All over this country are American families with broken hearts and broken dreams while you toot off to Denmark to push the envelope for one city out of hundreds – and accomplished nothing in the process.

    You better get your priorities straight FAST.

    Afghanistan is another VIET NAM. How long do you think we'll sit back silently while our kids are sent off to die for nothing much?

    October 6, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. ggb

    Please tell me where this money is coming from? Is there not any logic to the WH? What is the revenus source for the government when corporate revenues are down and less than 40% american households pay taxes (according to the WH!). You cannot spend your way out of debt and now the economists are warning of the upcoming cost of living explosion which always follows a recession. Thank you dems for your liberal spending!

    October 6, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Mark

    I cant believe we have to wait four years now.

    October 6, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. RR

    extending unemployment benefits YET AGAIN will only keep people from moving to better job prospects or taking lower paying jobs

    October 6, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. Liberals are Hypocrites

    As usual - Obama is just futzing around. He wants another stimulus - plain and simple. Yee gad!!!!!!!!!!! The first one doesn't work, so we'll have a second - and then a third - and then the government will actually BUY THE ENTIRE ECONOMY. Good luck, Liberal lackies!!!!

    October 6, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |