Obama calls for swift action on economic stimulus plan

January 24th, 2009 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 24 (DPA) In his first weekly address, US President Barack Obama Saturday called for fast action on his economic stimulus plan and warned that “a bad situation could become dramatically worse … if we do not act boldly and swiftly.”Obama said he is hoping to get his $825-billion economic stimulus package through Congress “in less than a month”, an expectation he drove home Friday at his meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers at the White House.

Earlier this month, Obama said he has set a target of mid February for passage.

The weekly message, which is also being released in audio and video form on the White House website, was e-mailed to news organizations late Friday, an apparent successor to former president George W. Bush’s weekly radio address.

Bush’s messages were always embargoed until 1500 GMT, but Obama’s address was moved up to 1100 GMT, or 6 a.m. local time. Until his inauguration Tuesday, Obama had also been releasing a weekly radio address.

Obama, who has pledged to give priority to the devastating financial crisis and year-long recession, will be meeting with his economic advisors Saturday at 1600 GMT. He is to receive daily economic briefings with the same detail and urgency as the traditional daily security briefings given the US president, his spokesman said this week.

Obama said his administration had begun “in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action.” He noted that the weekly unemployment filings were the highest in 26 years, and the unemployment rate could reach double digits “if nothing is done.”

The legislation includes tax cuts and spending to create 3 to 4 million jobs and put money into infrastructure and clean energy development.

The bill has moved through House committees earlier this week, but mainly with Democratic support. Republicans, who are in the minority, want deeper tax cuts and believe the spending portion is higher than immediately needed.

The US economy shed 2.6 million jobs last year as the economy continues to tumble as the United States copes with the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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