Photo by Pete Souza — President Barack Obama preparing to deliver his weekly address from the White House today.
Today President Barack Obama called the passage by Congress of the much debated $787 billion stimulus bill a major milestone. Even before he officially took the oath of office, President Obama has been pushing hard for his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.
The president’s original plan was larger and he had lobbied for Republican support. Yesterday, the House voted 246-183 in favor of the stimulus bill; not one Republican voted for it. On Friday night, the Senate passed it on a 60-38 vote with three GOP moderates courageously voting “yes”.
Today in his weekly radio/Internet address to the nation, President Obama praised Congress for taking the swift action he encouraged: “Congress has passed my economic recovery plan – an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it. 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.
This is a major milestone on our road to recovery, and I want to thank the Members of Congress who came together in common purpose to make it happen. Because they did, I will sign this legislation into law shortly, and we’ll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done.”
The president reiterated a promise for transparency: “Once the plan is put into action, a new website – Recovery DOT gov – will allow any American to watch where the money goes and weigh in with comments and questions – and I encourage every American to do so. Ultimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it’s going and how it’s spent. This historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but the beginning. The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread. Our response must be equal to the task.”
At the end of his address, President Obama cited a message from a past president: “This morning, I’m reminded of words President Kennedy spoke in another time of uncertainty. ‘Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.'”
President Obama is expected to sign the stimulus plan into law on Monday, February 16, Presidents Day.