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Congressional Democrats Oppose Bush Economic Stimulus Package - 2002-02-06

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says the economic stimulus package promoted by President Bush appears dead in the Senate, and he plans to withdraw the legislation from further consideration on Wednesday.

The Democratic senator says his party, which holds a razor-thin majority in the Senate, has been unable to forge a compromise with Republicans on the stimulus plan. The Republican-led house passed the measure last year.

"The Republicans have made it clear that even the 'common ground' proposal is unacceptable," said Mr. Daschle. "So I do not think there is any question they do not want a stimulus package unless it is their stimulus package."

Democrats have sought greater benefits for workers who lost jobs, while Republicans have called for greater tax cuts.

President Bush has been pressing senators to pass the stimulus plan to boost the economy, which went into a recession last March and further worsened after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Returning from a trip to Pennsylvania, Mr. Bush expressed his regret at the Senate Majority leader's decision. "I am disappointed," he said. "I think workers need help, and I think we need to stimulate the economy with some wise policy."

But in recent weeks the economy has shown evidence that is rebounding. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Tuesday there are increasing signs the economy would recover by April, even though he said a stimulus package is still necessary to ensure a return to faster growth.

The head of the U.S. central bank, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, recently said the economy would likely recover without a stimulus package.