By Nancy Pelosi
On Monday, America's foremost economists told House Democratic leaders that our economy and America's families would benefit if Congress acted quickly on a new economic recovery package. The economists' message echoed that of the economist who won the Nobel Prize this week -- Paul Krugman -- who is calling for a large fiscal stimulus program 'to get us out of this recession.'
The need for this package is undeniable. America lost nearly 800,000 jobs in the past nine months and 159,000 jobs last month alone. Families throughout the nation are watching as key services -- education, public safety, health care and child safety -- are dramatically reduced. All families are facing higher energy and food costs.
In September, as we moved quickly to help rescue Wall Street and our financial system, the House also passed an economic recovery package for Main Street that would create and save jobs by building a 21st century infrastructure, providing extended unemployment assistance and preventing the loss of crucial health services. Unfortunately, President Bush threatened to veto the recovery legislation and Senate Republicans blocked it.
We must try again. In the weeks since, the need for responsible action to strengthen our economy has become more urgent. I have asked the chairmen of the relevant committees in the House to review the economic impact of a larger recovery package and, because of the Congress' commitment to fiscal responsibility, the effect on the budget.
Democrats have made fiscal responsibility a top priority, reinstating pay-as-you-go budget rules on the first day we took control of Congress in 2007. In keeping with these principles, each component of our recovery package will be justified in terms of creating good-paying jobs, stimulating our economy and returning revenue to the Treasury.
When Americans are worried about losing their jobs, their savings, their homes and their chance at the American Dream, Congress and the president must work together to lift our economy and restore hope. That is the course the New Direction Congress will continue in the days and weeks ahead.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is speaker of the House of Representatives.