ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Jacqueline Klingebiel Report: The nation’s governors are split on whether a second stimulus package focused on infrastructure is needed to revive the economy.
Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) took the lead Monday in criticizing President Bush for refusing to back a second stimulus package focused on public works. Gregoire said that a $12 billion infusion into the states for "ready to go" water projects, roads, and bridges was needed to "put people to work" and avoid "another Minnesota situation."
Gregoire slammed President Bush for suggesting that infrastructure funds can "be done only through public-private partnerships or through pricing in the states," adding that the Highway Trust Fund which the states draw on is "almost bankrupt." The Office of Management and Budget is projecting a $3.2 billion deficit in the Highway Trust Fund for Fiscal Year 2009, according to Gregoire’s staff.
"We are going to need the Congress and the President to step up and give a major infusion of federal dollars if we are going to be able to have the kind of infrastructure America needs," said Gregoire.
Gregoire made her comments after the nation’s governors held their last group meeting with President Bush at the White House.
While a subgroup of governors are pushing for a second stimulus package, others think such a move is premature.
"It’s wrongheaded for Congress to be talking about a stimulus package focused on spending rather than on tax cuts," said Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour. "I think it’s very premature. As the president said today, the money for the first stimulus package is not even out the door yet."
Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer does not expect Gregoire and her allies to succeed in getting President Bush to go along with a second stimulus package.
"Let me tell you what I heard from President Bush," said Schweitzer. "He was asked about whether there would be another stimulus package and you know, I guess I’ll sum up 140 words in just a few: ‘That dog don’t hunt’
"He’s not supporting it," he added, "and last time I looked he’s still got a pen in his hand."