Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama calls stimulus 'a major milestone' --LA Times,0,5994949.story

Obama calls stimulus 'a major milestone'

"I will sign this legislation into law shortly,'' the president says in his radio address.
By Mark Silva

5:31 AM PST, February 14, 2009

Reporting from Washington — President Barack Obama, winning a $787-billion stimulus for an ailing economy within his first month in office, today called the measure "a major milestone on our road to recovery.''

The president plans to swiftly sign the measure approved late Friday night by the Senate, following its passage by the House earlier in the day – clearing Congress largely along party lines.

"I will sign this legislation into law shortly,'' Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address this morning, "and we'll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done.''

Although Obama had courted Republicans to support the plan, it passed the House on Friday by 246-183 without a single Republican vote, and it passed the Senate by 60-38 with the help of just three Republican senators. Republicans have denounced the president's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as too laden with big spending and too short on tax relief..

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska), delivering the Republican Party's radio and Internet response to the president today, said: "Republicans have been supportive of a stimulus plan all along. Yet, over the past few weeks, a serious difference of opinion has emerged over what an economic recovery plan should include. Democrats, it seems, settled on a random dollar amount in the neighborhood of $1 trillion and then set out to fill the bucket.''

The votes capped a week in which Obama had traveled through four states in the promotion of his plan – from Elkhart, Ind., where unemployment has passed 15 percent, to Fort Myers, Fla, where the economy has taken a tough toll on the housing market, to Springfield, Va., where work is underway on a new parkway serving a national security facility, and to East Peoria, Ill., where the Caterpillar company has laid off workers but hopes to rehire them with federal help.

"This week, I spent some time with Americans across the country who are hurting because of our economic crisis,'' Obama said today. "Families losing the homes that were their stake in the American Dream. Folks who have given up trying to get ahead, and given in to the stark reality of just trying to get by.

"They've been looking to those they sent to Washington for some hope at a time when they need it most,'' the president said. "This morning, I'm pleased to say that after a lively debate full of healthy difference of opinion, we have delivered real and tangible progress for the American people.''

The stimulus approved by Congress will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs, he said, reiterating a promise that was central to passage of the plan.

"This is a major milestone on our road to recovery,'' the president said this morning, "and I want to thank the members of Congress who came together in common purpose to make it happen.''

The measure provides money for road-building and new bridges as well as schools and expansion of Broadband networks to rural communities. It offers money to computerize healthcare records as well as for alternative energy generation with wind-powered turbines and insulation for a million homes.

It also extends and boosts federal unemployment benefits and pumps more money into the federally and state-funded Medicaid for low-income and disabled Americans.

And it provides an estimated $280 billion in tax relief.

"Some fear we won't be able to effectively implement a plan of this size and scope, and I understand their skepticism,'' Obama said today. "Washington hasn't set a very good example in recent years. And with so much on the line, it's time to begin doing things differently …''

The White House is establishing a website,, to track the spending..

"This historic step won't be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but the beginning,'' he said. "The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread. Our response must be equal to the task.

"For our plan to succeed, we must stabilize, repair, and reform our banking system, and get credit flowing again to families and businesses,'' the president said. "We must write and enforce new rules of the road, to stop unscrupulous speculators from undermining our economy ever again. We must stem the spread of foreclosures and do everything we can to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes.''

Looking ahead to his proposal of a new federal budget for 2010, the president notes that the accrued national debt has doubled in the past eight years – indeed the act passed by Congress raises the authorized ceiling on the federal debt to $12 trillion.

It's necessary, Obama said today, "in order to jumpstart our sick economy. But our long-term economic growth demands that we tame our burgeoning federal deficit; that we invest in the things we need, and dispense with the things we don't. This is a challenging agenda, but one we can and will achieve.''

The nation "will prove equal to this task,'' he said. "It will take time, and it will take effort, but working together, we will turn this crisis into opportunity and emerge from our painful present into a brighter future.''

Comment: We certainly need 3.5 Million jobs but we need to call into question the whole corporate welfare system of today's corporate capitalism. For the vast majority of working class people it is a failed state of affairs. The whole economic system of corporate capitalism needs to be examined without petty economic class interests with a global vision of helping hard working class people.

We still do not have any humane immigration legislation but this is a big first win for Obama.

Education for Liberation!
Peter S. Lopez aka: Peta


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