Wall Street tax "has a great deal of merit": Pelosi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposed tax on financial transactions “has a great deal of merit” and would help Congress raise needed revenue, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.

“I believe that the transaction tax still has a great deal of merit,” Pelosi said at a news conference.

The tax would have a “really minimal impact on the transaction, but a tremendous impact on helping us meet our needs,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi has previously said the tax would have to be imposed internationally to keep Wall Street business from going overseas. Backers of the tax say they have crafted their bills to ensure that businesses would not migrate overseas.

Democrats in the House are considering the tax as a way to pay for new construction projects and other measures aimed at bringing down the country’s 10.2 percent unemployment rate.

But support is tepid on a key tax-writing committee, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he opposes it.

The measure also faces high hurdles in the Senate, where only two lawmakers have come out in support so far.

Reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Andy Sullivan, editing by Vicki Allen