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US Treasury Secretary Criticizes Senate For Stimulus Package Stand Still

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

11 December 2001


US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill made critical comments last week on the current status of the economic stimulus package which slowed almost to a standstill in the Senate. He said: 'On October 5, President Bush asked Congress to enact an economic security package ... the legislative year is coming to an end, and still the Senate hasn't acted.'

'First they failed to pass a bill,' he added. 'Now, after finally agreeing to a conference process to negotiate an economic stimulus, Senator Daschle has created an impossible hurdle for the negotiators. With his insistence that two-thirds of Senate Democrats sign off on a stimulus package, Senator Daschle has rendered Senate Democrat conferees powerless in negotiating an agreement.'

Mr O'Neil stressed that President Bush had called for four provisions to help strengthen the US economy and create more employment: accelerating depreciation to stimulate investment; eliminating the corporate alternative minimum tax to ensure that employers hit by the downturn can retain and create jobs; providing relief to taxpayers who haven't received tax rebate checks; and accelerating the already-enacted income tax rate cuts to put more money in people's pockets and help small businesses create and retain jobs.

'Today's unemployment numbers reinforce that we need a stimulus package to strengthen our economic recovery and put people back to work,' he said.

On his government website page, Majority Leader Tom Daschle said: 'The economic stimulus package I am fighting for in the Senate provides unemployment benefits and health care assistance to those who have lost their jobs, tax relief for working families, and incentives to encourage business investment. My plan also seeks to restore consumer confidence by fighting bio-terrorism. These provisions are temporary, genuinely stimulative and will protect Social Security and Medicare. The plan is effective, responsible and needed.'


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