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Recovery plan vital to lift economic gloom: Obama

February 06, 2009 10:21 IST

As Republican and Democratic lawmakers scramble to sort out their sharp differences over the mega economic stimulus package, US President Barack Obama has said the country desperately needs it and a failure will turn the economic crisis into a catastrophe.

"I urge you to complete that world without delay," Obama said addressing the House Democratic Caucus meeting at Williamsburg, Virginia. The House of Representatives has already passed the $819 billion mega stimulus package, while the bill in the Senate, reports said, is still in limbo.

Reminding lawmakers that the people of US are watching their move on the issue, he said, "They did not send us here to get bogged down with the same old delay and distractions.

"They did not vote for the false theories of the past. They did not vote for status quo -- they sent us here to bring change, and we owe it to them to act. This is the moment for leadership that matches the great test of our time," he said.

The President warned that if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is not signed into law quickly, the economic crisis will be turn into a catastrophe.

"Millions more Americans will lose their jobs. Home will be lost. Families will go without health care. Our crippling dependence on foreign oil will continue. That is the price of inaction," he said.

Last week tens of thousands of workers were laid off and the latest figures revealed that the new unemployment claims jumped to a 26-year high of 626,000. "We're expecting another dismal jobs report on top of the 2.6 million jobs we lost last year," Obama said.

"We can't embrace the losing formula that offers more tax cuts as the only answer to every problem we face, while ignoring critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, the soaring cost of health care, failing schools and crumbling bridges, roads and levees," he said.

Referring to the debate that is currently on among the lawmakers on the stimulus package, Obama said while he agreed that a legislation of such magnitude deserves the scrutiny that it has received, "but I urge all of us to not make the perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary. The scale and scope of this plan is right.

"So, just as past generations of Americans have done in trying times, we can and must turn this moment of challenge into one of opportunity. The plan that you've passed has at its core a simple idea: let's put Americans to work doing the work that America needs done," he said.

Making a passionate appeal to the lawmakers to pass the bill quickly, Obama said the plan will save or create over three million jobs -- almost all of them in the private sector.

Lalit K Jha
Source: