President Obama on Tuesday (Dec. 8) outlined what The Wall Street Journal called "an expansion of his $787 billion stimulus plan," but the speech left many details - including the cost and timing of his proposals - up in the air.
Obama called for "relief to states and localities to prevent layoffs," but didn't specify the exact form that relief would take. Quoting Democratic aides on Capitol Hill, The Journal reported that two of the biggest pieces that states have been seeking - an extension of unemployment insurance and more money for infrastructure projects - could be broken up into two bills.
"The first," according to The Journal , "would top $100 billion and would extend unemployment insurance, temporary food-stamp payment increases and subsidies for health-care purchases by the unemployed. That would likely be attached to a spending bill in coming weeks."
The second, amounting to about $70 billion, "would contain many of Mr. Obama's initiatives and likely wouldn't reach his desk until early next year," The Journal reported. Among Obama's proposals are up to $50 billion in spending on highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects - money that state highway officials have been seeking - and new incentives for those who make their homes more energy efficient. The Los Angeles Times reported that the "upper limit" of the overall jobs plan is about $200 billion, citing senior administration officials.
The Washington Post also reported that much of Obama's job-creating initiatives may have to wait until 2010, noting Congress' busy schedule in the coming weeks. "Much depends on the Senate schedule, which is being monopolized by the health-care debate," The Post said.