Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who has been increasingly upbeat in recent weeks, told a Senate committee yesterday that the recovery from the recession "is already well under way" and that Congress' failure to enact a stimulus package would not affect it.
"We talked our way out of it," quipped Sen. John B. Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat. He said he expected there to be some Senate opposition to the House-passed bill "because people think the recession is over."
But lawmakers from areas that have been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn that was well underway before Sept. 11 said there is still a need for a boost.
"This is the right mix at the right time to provide some relief for workers and also for an economy that is still dragging and very much at risk," said Rep. Philip S. English, a Republican from northwest Pennsylvania.
Congressional analysts said the legislation would pump $51 billion into the economy this year, $43 billion next year and $29 billion in 2004. The total cost would drop to $42 billion over 10 years because some tax breaks would generate government revenue in later years.