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Las Vegas Review-Journal - Legislators Hear Stimulus Call

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Location: Washington, DC


Las Vegas Review-Journal - Legislators Hear Stimulus Call

Governors, mayors and interest groups Wednesday came to Capitol Hill and pressed for tens of billions of dollars for new public works projects and help for cash-strapped states, among other ideas aimed at boosting the economy.

They found sympathetic ears at a pair of House hearings for plans to build roads and water and sewer projects, extend jobless benefits and help states cope with multibillion dollar budget shortfalls.

Democrats are eyeing an economic stimulus measure, either in a postelection session next month or as the first item of business next year.

They are focusing on the spending side of the federal ledger, unlike the tax rebate checks sent earlier this year, with a focus on generating new jobs.

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Two House members from Nevada who sit on the Ways and Means Committee returned to Washington for the hearing.

They described the state's economic despair, with its national lead in foreclosures and an unemployment rate that Rep. Shelley Berkley said was projected to surpass 8.5 percent by the end of the year.

But Berkley, a Democrat, and Rep. Jon Porter, a Republican, differed on prospects for Congress passing a second stimulus bill this year.

Berkley said she would support a stimulus bill that would include a further extension of unemployment benefits, an increase in Medicaid help to states and an infusion of dollars for road and bridge repairs and other infrastructure needs.

"There isn't anything that we are discussing that won't have a direct and beneficial impact on the people I represent," Berkley said.

As for size, she said a $150 billion package "would be a good start."

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