U.S. President Barack Obama says his administration's priorities are to
address the deepening economic crisis in the United States, to take
action on making the country energy independent, and to fight climate
Speaking today (Monday) at the White House, Mr. Obama said
he has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to review a Bush
administration order that prevented states from setting tougher auto
emission standards than federal rules allow. The new president also
called for better fuel efficiency guidelines for U.S. vehicles.
Mr. Obama, starting his first full week in office, called for a
worldwide coalition to fight global warming. He said much work remains
to be done, but that the United States will not be "held hostage" to
dwindling resources, hostile regimes and a warming planet.
On the economy, he said the nation cannot afford distractions or delays when it comes to a new economic stimulus package.
President Obama has been aggressively campaigning for a
multi-billion-dollar economic package. He met with congressional
leaders from both major political parties on Friday to discuss the
economy. He is expected to go to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lobby
Republican leaders on the package, which could top 820 billion dollars.
The remarks come hours ahead of an expected vote in the Senate on the
nomination of Treasury Secretary-designee Timothy Geithner. The nominee
has been criticized for his failure to pay some 30-thousand dollars in
taxes several years ago, but he is expected to win confirmation.