Obama's Second Bailout Plan Draws Ire

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WASHINGTON - At a meeting of congressional leaders Wednesday night at the White House, President Barack Obama accused Republicans of "stoking fear" against the administration's economic recovery plan, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.

"That's just not the case," Cantor said after the meeting. "It's the policies that are stoking fear."

But despite Republican opposition, Obama is still pushing for bipartisan support for his second stimulus package, which follows last February's $787 billion stimulus bill.

"I am absolutely committed to working with anybody who is willing to do the job to make sure we rebuild our economy," Obama said following Wednesday night's meeting.

Though Obama has yet to estimate the cost of his new package, some lawmakers estimate the price tag could top $200 billion.

"[The administration] can't keep spending money we don't have," Cantor said.

Republican leaders presented an alternative plan that would freeze federal spending and tax increases until the 10 percent unemployment rate - the highest in a generation - comes down.

Obama's job package includes extending unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans and preventing health insurance from expiring for workers who have been laid off. 

Meanwhile, leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus criticized Obama for not addressing the high unemployment rates among African Americans.

Black Caucus chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) released a statement quoting Obama's campaign promises not to ignore race and cited the particularly high unemployment rate among blacks and Hispanics.

"We believe that tackling systemic inequality requires specific, concrete and targeted action," Lee said. "We want to make sure unemployment comes down in every part of the country and to do that we have to make sure the communities of color have specific resources,"

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded by saying "I don't think the president believes that we should address only one part of the unemployment rate."

"The president believes that the plans he outlined have the ability to address both the national as well as the black and the Hispanic community," Gibbs told reporters.


The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

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