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Obama may sign stimulus package by Feb

Lalit K Jha in Washington | January 24, 2009 16:53 IST

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US President Barack Obama on Saturday said he hopes to sign into law the mega economic stimulus package within a month to revive the US economy as there seems to be bipartisan agreement in this regard among members of Congress.

"I am pleased to say that both parties in Congress are already hard at work on this plan, and I hope to sign it (American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan) into law in less than a month," Obama said in his maiden weekly radio address after becoming US President.

Obama, who had met the Congressional leaders from both the Democratic and Republic parties at White House on Friday to find a consensus on his economic stimulus package, said the plan would create three to four million jobs over the next few years.

The plan recognises both the paradox and the promise of this moment - the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there is so much work to be done, he said.

"That's why this is not just a short-term program to boost employment. It's one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; healthcare and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century," Obama said.

Having taken over the reins of power in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, Obama said, the US economy would fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity. This translates into more than USD 12,000 in lost income for a family of four.

"We could lose a generation of potential, as more young Americans are forced to forgo college dreams or the chance to train for the jobs of the future," he said.

"Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last 26 years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits," he said.

"In short, if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse," Obama said.

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