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Mega economic package for US on track: White House

Lalit K Jha in Washington | January 31, 2009 14:43 IST

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The White House has said the $819 billion mega economic stimulus package, passed by the House of Representatives amid opposition from Republicans, is on track and exuded confidence it would be signed into law before February 16, a deadline set by President Barack Obama.

The American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which pumps $819 billion into the US market so as to boot up its fast sinking economy, was passed by the House early this week; with all Republicans lawmakers voting against it.

The stimulus package is now scheduled to come up before the Senate next week, wherein the opposition Republicans, though in minority, have vowed to block it. They have, in fact, brought out their own version of the bill.

Obama's presidential rival, Senator John McCain, announced on Friday that he is working on an alternative package.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs hoped that it would be cleared by the Senate next week and soon it would be on the President's desk.

"I don't think next week we'll see any delay. I think we're on a path towards getting the President something that he can sign before President's Day (February 16) recess," he said.

As the economic crisis deepens, Gibbs said Americans now understand that the Congress has to work expeditiously to get help to the American people, to save or create millions of new jobs and to get the economy moving again.

Congressional leaders, he said, have stated in order to meet the deadline, if needed, there may be a smaller or shorter recess than what might have been previously planned.

"I think that shows the willingness of all involved to get something, most importantly, out of Congress, out of the President's hands, and into the pockets of the American people," Gibbs said.

Obama would continue to make his bi-partisan effort, he asserted.

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