Bush, Bernanke Both Back Stimulus Plan

CAPITOL HILL (AP) — President Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are both on board. They’re both embracing calls for an economic stimulus package to avert recession.

At the White House, a spokesman said Bush believes that “over the short term,” a “boost” is needed to “deal with the softening of the economy.”

A short time later, the Fed chief was on Capitol Hill, where his prepared remarks said any stimulus plan should be quickly implemented, and temporary. He says it shouldn’t be allowed to complicate any longer-term fiscal challenges.

Bernanke isn’t supporting any specific provisions. Instead, he’s addressing the general idea of an economic rescue pacakge. It’s likely that any such package would include tax rebates.

In his testimony, he says, “Fiscal action could be helpful in principle,” and may provide “broader support for the economy” than the Fed can furnish alone through cuts in interest rates.

President Bush has scheduled a conference call Thursday with congressional leaders in both parties to discuss a possible short-term stimulus package.