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Bush Confident He and Congress Can Agree on Stimulus Plan

ServicesSource: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they feel urgency to enact an economic stimulus plan and are confident they can work with President Bush to get one done quickly.

"The urgency that we feel at home is now even more urgent as we see the impact of our markets on others," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after lawmakers of both parties met with Bush at the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the goal is to get a deal through Congress and on Bush's desk within roughly three weeks. Earlier, Bush himself said he was confident that Congress and the administration will be able to approve a stimulus package to jump-start the economy and calm fears of recession that have shaken financial markets worldwide.

"I really feel good that we have an opportunity to do something together," Reid said.

The unusual bipartisan harmony and pledges for fast action underscored how rattled the American public is -- and how leaders of both parties want to be seen as responding to those concerns quickly.

The lawmakers, like Bush, would not discuss the specifics of what a compromise plan would look like. They say that is a matter for private negotiation.

The president has broadly outlined a stimulus plan that would include tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Bush said any plan, to be effective, would need to represent roughly 1 percent of the gross domestic product, or about $140 billion to $150 billion. Democrats have their own ideas.

So far, all sides are stressing cooperation, not potential division about the details.

"This is about one thing in this package: Is it a stimulus?" Pelosi said "Does it stimulate the economy? Does it put money into the hands of those who will spend it?"
 

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