Gibbs: No big stimulus bill planned

Sept. 2, 2010 at 8:56 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama has no plans for a second major stimulus bill to jumpstart the U.S. economy, a spokesman said Thursday.

Robert Gibbs, the president's press secretary, was grilled about statements made by Christina Romer in a speech Wednesday at the end of her term as head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers. Romer said a combination of tax cuts and government spending would be needed to increase demand.

"Some big new stimulus plan is not in the offer," Gibbs said.

Gibbs instead suggested the president is considering a series of relatively small steps, including tax cuts targeted at small business. He maintained that much of what the administration has already done has worked.

"I think it is safe to say that we are in a markedly different and better position than we were a year, a year-and-a-half ago," Gibbs said. "Our economy is expanding. We've created about 600,000 private sector jobs throughout the course of this year."

But he acknowledged the recovery is fragile and that its "trajectory" has been changed by events like Greece's near financial collapse.

Citing people it said were familiar with administration economic policy development, The Washington Post Thursday reported the president's economic team is considering tax breaks for businesses, possibly amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, to help stimulate economic activity.

The newspaper's sources said discussions are taking place at staff level on a temporary payroll tax holiday and a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit.

White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told the newspaper "no final decisions have been made."

"There have been a lot of reports and rumors on different options being considered -- many of which are incorrect," she said. "The options under consideration build on measures the president has previously proposed, and we are not considering a second stimulus package."

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