A stimulus to jump start economy first priority: Obama (Second lead)

November 8th, 2008 - 4:21 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 8 (IANS) US President-elect Barack Obama has vowed that restoring the nation’s economic equilibrium will be a major priority of his administration as it works to ease credit crisis, help American families and restore growth and prosperity.”I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead,” Obama told reporters at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago at his first news conference since his election. “We have taken some major action to date, and we will take further action.”

Obama said that, if the lame-duck Congress fails to pass a stimulus package before he takes office Jan 20, passing such a package will be his first move.

Obama pointed to Friday’s release of unemployment figures and bad news from the auto industry as the reason that his administration will have to move quickly on the economic crisis.

“We are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we are going to have to act swiftly to solve it,” Obama said.

He said the country must deal with several immediate challenges. Obama said a fiscal stimulus plan to jump-start economic growth is “long overdue”.

The president-elect also said he would make it a high priority to work on additional policy options to help the struggling auto industry.

Before the press conference, Obama and vice-president elect Joe Biden met with a 17-member council of economic advisers. Biden and the entire team of advisers stood behind him at the press conference.

Among the panellists were former Treasury Secretaries Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, billionaire businessman Warren Buffett and other leaders in business and politics.

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