Congress approval of stimulus bill is major milestone: ObamaFebruary 15th, 2009 - 6:34 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Feb 15 (DPA) US President Barack Obama Saturday thanked Congress for passing the $787-billion economic stimulus bill, which he called “a major milestone on our road to recovery.”
In his weekly address he also warned that “this historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but the beginning.”
The long-awaited passage of the stimulus bill - the largest single spending proposal in US history - marked Obama’s first major legislative victory since he took office Jan 20. The president could sign it into law as early as Monday, the White House said.
But the victory did not come with the bipartisan support Obama’s administration had originally hoped for. The president instead relied on the Democratic Party’s majorities in both chambers.
The House of Representatives approved the plan 246-183 Friday afternoon - not a single Republican supported the measure.
The Senate followed suit Friday evening by 60-38, garnering the support of only three Republicans and just barely meeting the 60-vote threshold.
“Some fear we won’t be able to effectively implement a plan of this size and scope, and I understand their skepticism. 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,” Obama said Saturday.
Once the bill is signed into law, a new website - www.recovery.gov - will allow Americans to track how the money is being spent. “I encourage every American to do so. Ultimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it’s going,” Obama said, promising accountability and transparency.
The administration insists the package - a mixture of tax cuts and spending programmes - will save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years and upgrade the country’s ailing infrastructure, energy, health care and education system.
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