President-elect Barack Obama does not have a timetable to develop and pass an economic stimulus package, according to one of his aides on the transition team.
Still, Obama wants to get a plan in place as soon as possible given the deteriorating economy, this person said. However, it is important to get the stimulus plan right in order to get the maximum impact from the effort.
Previously, there had been talk of a Jan. 20 deadline for passage of an economic plan. But this is looking increasingly unlikely.
Obama arrives in Washington, D.C., on Sunday and plans to hold meetings all week in order to develop a stimulus bill.
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There have been reports that Obama plans to meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Monday to discuss the timing and scope of the legislation, intended to spur job growth and likely to include big infrastructure investments and tax cuts.
Some media reports have pegged the expected cost of a stimulus plan at between $675 billion and $775 billion.
But Obama aides have been quoted as saying the president-elect will aim to persuade Americans that a nearly $1 trillion government investment is crucial to create jobs, and help repair shattered state coffers.
Earlier in the week, congressional Republicans said they would work with Democrats to craft a stimulus plan but only if GOP ideas are considered.
"We need the right mix of tax relief and other measures to grow the economy," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement Monday.
"Taxpayers are in no mood to have a single dollar wasted, but it's not yet been explained how their tax dollars will be protected ... in a rush to spend their money," McConnell added.
His comments and a simultaneous statement by House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio indicate that Republicans are emerging from their political fox hole with a traditional call for smaller government—even as many in the GOP ranks have joined Democrats in support of government rescues for the ailing financial sector.
Obama is proposing a package of as much as $775 billion over two years, his advisers say, though they think add-ons by lawmakers could raise the price to $850 billion.
His advisers say an $850 billion plan could generate about 3.2 million jobs by the first quarter of 2011.
Some economists favor an even bigger spending stimulus: up to $1.3 trillion.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden said this month that lawmakers will not be allowed to attach earmarks— pet projects —to the legislation.
McConnell and Boehner said the Democrats' ambitious timetable leaves little chance to ensure those goals are met.
Both said there should be hearings on what's in the bill and that the legislation should be posted online for public review for a week before it's brought up for votes in the House and Senate.