Democrats Laud Bernanke's Endorsement of Stimulus Consideration

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) were quick to seize on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's endorsement Monday morning of considerations of a second economic stimulus package.

Reid said he hoped Bernanke's statement to the House Budget Committee will sway President Bush and Republicans to support a second stimulus package, while Schumer said a second package is "very much needed."

House and Senate leaders have both publicly declared their intent to raise a second stimulus package during the Nov. 17 lame duck session, including ideas that had been previously unsuccessful such as unemployment benefit extensions, new infrastructure spending, hiring incentives for businesses, bankruptcy reform, aid to homeowners facing foreclosure, heating assistance for low-income households and cash infusions to states facing budget shortfalls.

Reid has so far stopped short of formally adding it to the Senate's agenda for the session.

Bernanke, in a prepared statement to the House Budget Committee, offered a cautious endorsement, saying the idea was "appropriate" even though it would have to be carefully structured and its impact would likely be limited.

Reid's statement: "I am pleased that Chairman Bernanke agrees with congressional Democrats about the value of an economic recovery package to help create jobs and increase economic growth.