Thursday 21 February 2019

Quick approval sought for stimulus package

Washington, February 9, 2009

Top aides to President Barack Obama have urged Democratic and Republican lawmakers to set aside political differences and quickly approve a massive economic stimulus package this week.

"If there was ever a moment to transcend politics, this is that moment," Larry Summers, head of the White House National Economic Council, told "Fox News Sunday."

Yet, with the world watching to see how the new president and Congress respond to the worst US financial crisis in 70 years, more political fireworks were certain at the US Capitol.

Squabbling will resume on Monday when the Democratic-led Senate, with the help of just a few Republicans, votes to end debate on an $827 billion rescue package and clear the way for passage of the measure on Tuesday.

Negotiators will then seek to resolve differences between the Senate bill and an $819 billion version of the measure earlier passed by the House of Representatives without any Republican support.

"Negotiations will be difficult, but fun to watch," a Republican aide said, citing battles on the size and scope of a final package of tax relief and new spending.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York, a member of the Democratic leadership, told CNN's "State of the Union" that the House, Senate and the White House "all agree there has to be some give and take."

Obama has demanded that a final bill be on his desk by next Monday to sign into law.

The president takes his case to the public this week, traveling on Monday to Indiana for a town hall meeting and then returning to the White House for a prime-time news conference. Tuesday he goes to Florida for another town hall meeting.

The political drama is being played out as the Democratic and Republican parties are at odds ideologically, with both claiming popular support.

Republicans stand accused of having driven the country into an economic mess under President George W Bush, and of pushing a tax-cut agenda that failed to revive the economy and instead helped create a record federal deficit.

Foes accuse Obama's Democrats of seizing on the economic crisis to pump cash into their pet projects and "big government" social agenda under the guise of creating jobs.

The White House itself has been vague about what it wants other than a plan with enough support by Democrats and Republicans to win passage and create jobs.

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Christina Romer, another top Obama fiscal adviser, said: "If we can get this (rescue) package through, we can turn it (the economy) around and be back on the road to growth." - Reuters

Tags: US | Obama | stimulus package |


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