WASHINGTON (AP) - Confronted with big job losses and no sign the U.S. economy is ready to stand on its own, Democrats are working on a growing list of relief efforts, leaving for later how to pay for them, or whether even to bother.
Proposals include extending and perhaps expanding a popular tax credit for first-time home buyers, and creating a new credit for companies that add jobs. Taken together, the proposals look a lot like another economic stimulus package, though congressional leaders don't want to call it that.
Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House say they have no appetite for another big spending package that adds to the federal budget deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion for the budget year that ended last week.
But with unemployment reaching nearly 10 percent, many lawmakers are feeling pressure to act. Some of the proposals come from the Republicans' playbook and focus on tax cuts, even though they, too, would swell the deficit.
"We have to do something for the unemployed, politically and economically," said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.