Rendell urges second stimulus with focus on jobs

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) on Wednesday urged House members to consider another stimulus package just for infrastructure projects in order to produce more jobs.

Rendell, in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that the $787 billion stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in February will work to boost the economy.

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But Rendell, also testifying in his role as chairman of the National Governors Association, called for another economic recovery package full of infrastructure projects.

"I would like to see a second stimulus devoted solely to infrastructure," he said. "It's what produces jobs, and produces orders for factories, American factories."

He said that the initial stimulus should be given more time before another recovery package is considered, adding that more jobs and projects will be coming over the next few months.

Rendell said that the stimulus has created up to 2,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania and saved up to 10,000 more.

Republicans on the committee blasted the stimulus, passed with only three GOP votes, as being ineffective for helping American workers.

"The real number we look at is the unemployment rate — and it's skyrocketed," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). The rate of unemployed U.S. workers was 9.5 percent for June, marking a 26-year high.

But Rendell said that the stimulus will lead to more jobs and help workers in other ways.

"Look, I think the stimulus bill was misnamed," he said. "Part of it was stimulus, part of it was job creation, but a lot of it was relief," such as increased unemployment insurance and food stamps.

Rendell suggested that a second stimulus creating more infrastructure projects can lead more directly to jobs.

Rendell hasn't said how big he would like an infrastructure bill to be and exactly what it would contain, according to his spokesman, Barry Ciccocioppo.

"It's not something that he has been specifically outlining, other than to say that infrastructure is so critical and so effective that we could use another stimulus," Ciccocioppo said.

The Obama administration has sought to tamp down talk of another stimulus package, which is contributing to the record $1.8 trillion deficit projection for this year. Rob Nabors, the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said at the same hearing Wednesday that "no one in this administration is talking about a second stimulus."

But the idea is gaining some traction on Capitol Hill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Sunday he's not satisfied with the results of the first stimulus, and he said lawmakers need to be "open to whether we need additional action." But Hoyer added it's not yet time to consider another stimulus package.

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