Obama signs $787 bn stimulus package to keep ‘American dream alive’

February 18th, 2009 - 10:29 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 18 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has signed into law a massive $787 billion stimulus package aimed at reviving the nation’s moribund economy and “keeping the American dream alive in our time.”

Obama signed the nearly 1,100-page American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Tuesday before an audience of 250 business and community leaders at Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science.

Calling the legislation “the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history,” Obama said it not only will create jobs, but will start “doing the work that America needs done in critical areas that have been neglected for too long.”

“We can’t build our economic future on the transportation and communications networks of the past,” he said.

After concluding his remarks, Obama sat down at a wooden desk that had been brought to the speaker’s platform and signed the bill using 10 pens as Vice President Joe Biden watched. “There you go,” Obama said, after signing the bill.

Because of the stimulus package, he said, nearly 400,000 people will have jobs repairing roads, bridges and levees, installing broadband capability in rural areas, upgrading mass transit and building high-speed rail lines, he said.

“We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time,” Obama said.

“Now, I don’t want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems. …But today does mark the beginning of the end, the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs.”

Calling the package “a balanced plan with a mix of tax cuts and investments,” he said it shuns “the usual pork barrel spending” and “will be implemented with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability” to ensure that the money is well spent.

In remarks to reporters Tuesday aboard Air Force One, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration has not ruled out the possibility of a second stimulus sometime in the future, although he said no plans for such a package are in the works.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, said Republicans are united in opposition to the Democratic stimulus plan, which “focuses on putting Americans on the public dole, while the Republican plan focuses on putting America back to work.”

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