Obama seeks bipartisan support for stimulus package

January 24th, 2009 - 7:45 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 24 (DPA) US President Barack Obama met with Republican and Democratic lawmakers Friday urging both parties to get behind his economic stimulus package.Obama wants legislation authorising the $825-billion package that includes tax cuts and spending to pull the US aimed at ending the recession and creating jobs. Republicans have balked at the size of the measure.

“I know that it is a heavy lift to do something as substantial as we’re doing right now,” Obama said during the White House meeting.

“I recognise that there are still some differences around the table and between the administration and the members of Congress about particular details on the plan,” Obama said.

The bill has moved through House committees earlier this week, but mainly with Democratic support, and could come to both the Senate and House floors for a full vote by mid-February.

Republicans, who are in the minority, want deeper tax cuts and believe the spending portion is higher than immediately needed.

“Because at the end of the day, this is not our money to spend. We’re borrowing this money from our kids. And so we’ve got to - we have to find a package that’s the right size,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said.

The meeting came after the Labour Department reported that the number of Americans filing first-time jobless claims reached its highest level since 1982.

The unemployment benefit claims jumped by 62,000 to 589,000 for the week ending Jan 17, the Labour Department said Thursday.

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

“The news has not been good,” Obama said.

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