WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A bleak U.S. economic outlook is prompting President-elect Barack Obama and other Democrats to fast-track another $700 billion stimulus package, aides said.
The amount, spread over two years, would rival the $700 plan to rescue the U.S. financial system and could become one of the biggest spending programs to jump-start the economy since President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Transition officials neither confirmed nor denied that such a huge spending package was under consideration. They made clear, however, that economic conditions are dire and hinted Obama may be forced to delay his campaign pledge to repeal President George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, the Post reported.
Austan Goolsbee, a spokesman for Obama on economic issues and in line to serve on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Obama's jobs plan will cost substantially more than the $175 billion stimulus program proposed during the campaign.
"This is as big of an economic crisis as we've faced in 75 years. And we've got to do something that's up to the task of confronting that," Goolsbee said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I don't know what the exact number is but it's going to be a big number."
Republicans pounced on the idea of such a huge initiative, saying Congress should cut taxes to spur economic growth, the Post reported.
"Democrats can't seem to stop trying to outbid each other -- with the taxpayers' money," House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "We're in tough economic times. Folks are hurting. But the American people know that more Washington spending isn't the answer."