Obama warns of “catastrophe” as stimulus debate stalls in Congress

February 5th, 2009 - 2:33 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 5 (DPA) US President Barack Obama warned of an economic “catastrophe” if lawmakers were unable to pass an unprecedented economic stimulus package and slammed Republicans for failing to recognise the outcome of the country’s general election last year.”A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession,” Obama warned Wednesday at the White House.

Obama, who made bipartisanship a central plank of his presidential campaign, has made a public push for Republican support for a more than $800-billion recovery package - the cornerstone of Obama’s efforts to revive the world’s largest economy.

The US has been in recession since December 2007 and lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008. Obama has warned that recovery will take years even with a massive injection of government cash.

But opposition Republicans have said the stimulus plan includes too much wasteful spending and refused to back the legislation. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives in a party-line vote last week, but Democratic leaders Tuesday warned they may not have enough votes to get the bill through the US Senate.

Obama broke from his bipartisan message Wednesday, criticising Republicans for aspiring to debunked economic theories that tax cuts alone will revive the US economy.

“I reject that theory, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change,” Obama said.

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