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Passage of $787 billion package a milestone: Obama

Lalit K Jha in Washington | February 14, 2009 17:20 IST

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US President Barack Obama said on Friday the Congressional passage of the $787 billion stimulus package is a 'major milestone' on the road to recovery of the recession-ridden American economy.

"Congress has passed my economic recovery plan: an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it," Obama said in his weekly radio address, hours after the Congress passed the much debated stimulus package and sent the bill to him to sign it into law.

It will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, ignite spending by business and consumers alike, and lay a new foundation for our lasting economic growth and prosperity, Obama said.

"This is a major milestone on our road to recovery," he said and thanked US lawmakers for making this happen, even if he failed to get any major support from the opposition Republican members.

Obama said, he will shortly sign this legislation into law, and will begin making immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done.

The US debt has doubled over the past eight years, and his administration has inherited a trillion dollar deficit, Obama said.

"This morning, I'm pleased to say that after a lively debate full of healthy differences of opinion, we've delivered real and tangible progress for the American people," Obama said in his early morning radio address.

Promising American people that he would unleash a new era of transparency and accountability along with the implementation of the $787 billion stimulus package, Obama said, "This historic step won't be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but rather the beginning."

"The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread, and our response must be equal to the task."

For the plan to succeed, he said, "We must stabilise, repair, and reform our banking system, and get credit flowing again to families and businesses. We must write and enforce new rules of the road, to stop unscrupulous speculators from undermining our economy ever again."

"We must stem the spread of foreclosures and do everything we can to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes," the US President said.

Obama said in coming weeks he come out with a proposal for the federal budget which will begin to restore the discipline the challenging times demand.

"Our long-term economic growth demands that we tame our burgeoning federal deficit, that we invest in the things we need, and dispense with the things we don't. This is a challenging agenda, but one we can and will achieve," Obama said.

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