WH Says Obama Won't Insist on Paying for New $13 Bln Economic Aid Plan - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
WH Says Obama Won’t Insist on Paying for New $13 Bln Economic Aid Plan

President Obama will not insist to Congressional leaders that his proposal for a new $13 billion economic aid bill will be paid for, according to a senior White House official.

Earlier this afternoon, the White House announced a plan to give 57 million Americans already receiving Social Security or some other government benefits a $250 “Economic Recovery Payment,” and insisted that Obama “is committed to ensuring that the $13 billion cost of the proposal does not reduce the solvency of Social Security or other social insurance programs.”

Asked on a conference call about how Obama intends to accomplish this, a senior administration official said that the bill would be financed out of “general revenues” and not necessarily offset by either spending cuts or tax increases.

“We generally think proposals should be paid for, but in this case, we’re providing temporary essential help to people as an extension to the Recovery Act,” the official said. “We plan to work with Congress to discuss financing, but the President is not going to go into those discussions insisting that this be paid for.”

The announcement comes a day before the Social Security Administration is set to announce its cost of living adjustment to beneficiaries. Last year, beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent boost because soaring energy costs pushed up consumer prices, but given the sagging prices in the currently weak economy, beneficiaries aren’t going to receive any raise this year. The proposed $250 payments would represent a 2 percent increase to the typical beneficiary.

The official was quick to push back against the suggestion that this proposal — likely to be financed through deficit spending — represented a second stimulus package. Instead, the official argued that it was merely extending a provision of the $787 billion stimulus bill that is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

In addition to the $250 subsidies, other elements of the stimulus package likely to be extended include unemployment assistance and subsidies to those receiving health insurance through COBRA.

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