*A year after passing a gigantic economic stimulus package, President Obama has requested a $50 billion injection of funds to help state and local governments.

If Congress does not act quickly, he said in an open letter, there will have to be “massive layoffs of teachers, police, and firefighters.” But Congress may not be so quick to cooperate.

Obama knows that even Democrats on Capitol Hill will prove difficult to convince in an election year in which government spending is a particularly divisive issue.

“I think there is spending fatigue,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) said recently. “It’s tough in both houses to get votes.” Just last month, Obama saw a provision for $24 billion in state aid excised from a bill that would extend emergency benefits for unemployed workers. But Obama insists more spending is necessary before things can get better. “It is essential that we continue to explore additional measures to spur job creation and build momentum toward recovery, even as we establish a path to long-term fiscal discipline,” he wrote.

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