Lawmakers press for stimulus bill

RALEIGH Representatives David Price of Durham and Brad Miller of Raleigh held a news conference Thursday to plead with their Senate colleagues to pass the proposal.

The say the state could get millions in sorely needed economic funding if it reaches the President's desk.

"This is the most fragile I have seen the American economy," offered Price.

North Carolina's unemployment rate now sits at 8.7 percent - the highest it's been in decades.

The men say unless the federal government acts, things could get worse.

"Every American is hurt by an underperforming economy. We're all in this together," said Miller.

The lawmakers say the current plan would bring in $1 billion worth of transportation and infrastructure projects to North Carolina. Three million residents would get a tax credit, and state schools would get $3.8 billion in help.

"If the economy collapses, this will seem foolish not to have done this," said Price.

But Republican critics say the bill spreads waste around the nation. They point to $335 million for sexually transmitted disease prevention, $75 million for smoking cessation programs, and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Price and Miller said Republicans would not support the economic stimulus, no matter how clean the bill.

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