Contractor group urges passage of economic package
The Associated General Contractors of America is hoping the U.S. Senate quickly follows House leadership and moves to vote on the economic stimulus bills supported by President George W. Bush.
“A strong construction industry requires strong economic growth,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the group’s CEO. “We believe that the tax cuts and consumer consumption provide part of the answer, but that additional capital investment can also serve as a stimulus.”
U.S. House leadership and the president agreed last week to a $150 billion stimulus package designed to prevent the country from slipping into recession. It includes tax rebate checks of $600 for singles and $1,200 for married couples - more if they have children. Businesses will be encouraged to buy machinery and equipment through tax incentives under the plan.
The president is expected to urge the Senate to approve the measure in tonight’s State of the Union speech, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST. The plan has run into some opposition in the Senate, as a number of Democratic senators want the deal to include expanded unemployment benefits and food stamps.
The AGC is hoping the final agreement will include money for road building and other infrastructure projects.
“AGC members support a sentiment apparent in the U.S. Senate that Congress should also include in the stimulus package important infrastructure projects that would employ workers and build assets,” Sandherr said. “A targeted program of public works investment would round out the bill by providing an opportunity for job growth and providing an incentive for construction contractors to expand capital expenditures.”