Over a month ago, I called on Congress and the President to begin considering temporary, fast-acting and progressive measures to jumpstart our economy. Last week, I laid out my blueprint for stimulus of up to $110 billion, including $70 billion in immediate measures and $40 billion in contingent tax rebates.
After seeing additional signs of economic weakness and hearing the stories of countless voters in Nevada, California and across the country, I am convinced that we need my full $110 billion package immediately to effectively stimulate the economy. In just the past week we have learned that retails sales declined in December; consumer expectations have fallen to a 16-year low; major Wall Street banks have taken multi-billion dollar write downs in mortgage related investments with more write downs expected; and housing starts have fallen to their lowest level since 1991.
We need aggressive action, and we need it now. I am calling on the President to consider my full $110 billion stimulus package, and will work with the Congressional leadership to help bring together a bipartisan agreement on stimulus.
My $110 billion package includes $40 billion in tax rebates for working and middle-class families. These rebates should meet the principles that I have outlined: they should be temporary and fiscally responsible; they should be fast-acting; and they should be targeted to working and middle-class families who need help the most. In particular, the rebates should not be partially or completely denied to tens of millions of lower income taxpayers, as was the case with President Bush’s plan during the last economic contraction.
My package also includes a $30 billion Emergency Housing Crisis Fund to assist states and cities mitigate the effects of mounting foreclosures; a comprehensive plan to end the housing crisis with a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and a 5 year freeze on interest rates on subprime mortgages; $25 billion in immediate energy assistance to tens of millions of families; $5 billion in accelerated energy efficiency and alternative energy investments to jumpstart green collar job growth; and $10 billion in extending and broadening unemployment insurance for those who are struggling to find work.
More info from last week’s column Our Urgent Economic Imperative