Congressional Leaders Agree to 'Do Something' About the Economy

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - "Bipartisanship" is the theme of the day on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner met with reporters Wednesday to discuss their "bipartisan response to current economic conditions."

Pelosi said she was "pleased" to join Boehner and other congressional leaders "to talk about how we can work together in a bipartisan way to have a stimulus package to relieve the hardships of America's working families."

Pelosi said she was "optimistic" that "timely, targeted, temporary" measures can be achieved. She thanked Boehner for his "very constructive ideas."

For his part, Boehner pronounced himself "pleased with the initial discussion."

Boehner noted that middle-class families and small businesses are increasingly concerned about the rising costs of living.

"I believe we can work in a bipartisan fashion to address this challenge," he said. "While there was no agreement on the elements of an economic growth package after today's meeting, there was an agreement to work together on a package that truly is stimulative -- not for the federal government, but for our nation's increasingly-sluggish economy."

Boehner said Republicans have ruled out any tax increase, and they also will oppose any bill that includes unrelated federal spending. But Democrats say they will not go along with any Republican plan to make President Bush's tax cuts permanent.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that President Bush will focus on an economic stimulus package in his Jan. 28 State of the Union address.

On Thursday, he will hold a conference call with congressional leaders "to solicit their views," the newspaper said.

How weak is the economy? Inflation is accelerating, and the stock markets are dropping.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department reported that rising food and energy prices accounted for much of the 4.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index in 2007. That's the biggest increase in overall prices since a 6.1 percent increase in 1990, the Labor Department said.

But according to a report in Thursday's Washington Post, the economy is weak is some places and chugging along in others.

"It is a divided economy," the Washington Post reported: Big banks are recording huge losses, while most regional banks are okay. Likewise, states such as Florida, California, and Michigan are feeling the effects of rising unemployment and delinquent bill payments, while "most other states appear to be doing fine."

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