David Axelrod: Congress Has No Appetite for Stimulus

Senior White House adviser tells 'This Week' focus is on smaller growth measures

ByABC News
July 11, 2010, 11:32 AM

July 11, 2010— -- As the U.S. economy struggles to recover, the president's top political adviser set modest expectations for any additional government action to boost job growth.

In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Axelrod acknowledged that the Congress does not have the appetite for another stimulus package.

"It's true there's not a great desire, even though there's some argument for additional spending in the short term to continue to generate economic activity," Axelrod told anchor Jake Tapper.

The White House, Axelrod said, is focusing on smaller measures to try to spur growth such as tax cuts and lending for small businesses, encouraging electric car production and patent reform.

Axelrod said the White House accepts the responsibility of moving the economy forward, but his political focus remained on the past.

"We lost three million jobs in the last six months of 2008. [Republicans] turned a $237 billion surplus that Bill Clinton left into a $1.3 trillion deficit. And they're running on the same policies," Axelrod said.

Asked by Tapper about recent comments from business leaders that government overregulation is creating economic uncertainty and could dampen the recover, Axelrod again looked back.

"Let's just review history here," he said. "There's no doubt that there was a kind of 'Katie bar the door' philosophy in Washington during the eight years previous to us and what it led to was a financial disaster."

He defended the administration's relationship with the business community saying White House actions prevented the crisis from being far worse.

"Our financial system is now stable instead of collapsing, which would have been a devastating thing for every business in this country, large and small," Axelrod said.