Americans could be ready to "absorb" increases to the deficit if it means higher employment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.

As the Congress prepares to put together a new spending package focused on creating new jobs in the U.S., the Speaker said that while it's a "false choice" to pose the situation facing lawmakers as a balance between jobs and increased deficits, Americans would rather have jobs.

"So if somebody has the idea that the percentage of GDP of what our national debt is will go up a bit, but they will now — and their neighbors and their children will — have jobs, I think they could absorb that," Pelosi said in a conference call with liberal bloggers on Tuesday, audio of which was posted by ThinkProgress.


House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said that the lower chamber hopes to move a jobs package by the Christmas holiday recess. Democrats have begun exploring different options for creating jobs, especially as unemployment continues to rise while 2010, an election year for lawmakers, quickly approaches.

Pelosi said deficit growth has been "stunning," but rejected the idea that a jobs bill would necessarily pose a threat to the deficit.

"We don't subscribe to the idea that some are for deficit reduction and some are for job creation; we think, again, as I said at the beginning, that's a false choice," she said. "We’re never going to decrease the deficit until we create jobs, bring revenue into the Treasury, stimulate the economy so we have growth."

The Speaker said Democrats must also "shed any weakness" about being confrontational on the issue out of fear that the party would be labeled as insensitive to the deficit.

Pelosi suggested, too, that if lawmakers are reluctant to spend for job creation, similar problems that plagued the U.S. during the Great Depression may strike again.

"If we pull our punch, as they did in the mid-'30s, we shouldn’t be surprised if history repeats itself," she explained.

"It's a very important debate for us to have in this country, and I would hope that the president's speech would be a balance between job creation and sensitive to deficit reduction," Pelosi added. "But I think if anybody is asked in the public, 'Would you rather have a job or a percentage of GDP or our national debt will go up a little bit?,' I think everybody wants a job."