White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made it clear that the president does not favor such a move, despite the continued rise in jobs losses and the extension of unemployment in the stimulus bill.
More in Congress, however, are calling for another dose of federal aid. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is the latest to jump on board.
“I’d like a second stimulus,” he told Politico.com. “I’d like it to focus 100% on infrastructure, and I’d like it to focus on infrastructure that we have to build anyway.
“It takes away the deficit argument if it’s the stuff we have to build anyway,” he continued. “We have in many parts of the country crumbling roads, decaying bridges, rotten water and wastewater infrastructure. Hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars of infrastructure deficit. We’ve got to fix it, why don’t we do it now?”
Word around the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s annual meeting in Charleston, S.C., this week was that the progress of health care reform and the energy bill will dictate the Obama administration’s feeling toward the passage of a long-term highway bill. If one of those measures fails and job losses continue to mount, the favored 18-month funding extension could be scraped.