With lawmakers fearing a worsening recession, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) held an "economic summit" Monday, bringing together many influential economists to convince lawmakers that a "massive spending package is needed to forestall economic disaster." This stimulus package, which would be Congress’ second stimulus plan created in the past year, could amount to as much as $300 billion and would likely include new government spending in areas such as road and bridge construction, aid to cash-strapped state governments and extra funds for food stamps and unemployment insurance. These provisions are similar to a bill that passed in the House but died in the Senate in September, despite the combined efforts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV).
No final decisions have been made on details of the package or changes to the congressional schedule, but Pelosi said lawmakers will hold public hearings on a variety of spending proposals during the next few weeks to assemble a package that could be put to a vote soon after the election on Nov. 4. The Senate is already reconvening the week of Nov. 17; several Democratic leaders in the House are now considering reconvening the week of Nov. 17 to discuss this and other issues.