With lawmakers angling to pass an economic recovery package by the middle of next month, desperate homebuilders from around the country flew to Washington to spend Wednesday pushing a $150 billion plan to revive the housing market.

The National Association of Home Builders brought around 80 builders _ mainly from smaller, privately owned companies _ for meetings with lawmakers from their districts, particularly those on committees that will handle President-elect Barack Obama's economic rescue package.

'Don't take their usual squishy answers,' exhorted Jerry Howard, chief executive of the home builders' trade group in a feisty Wednesday morning pep talk. 'We need to know today: Are you with us or not?'

Washington Post