U.S. President Barack Obama says endless congressional delays in
passing an economic recovery plan will bring the country to a deepening
Mr. Obama spoke Monday to residents of a recession-hit midwestern U.S.
city as part of a campaign to boost public support for his stimulus
Mr. Obama told a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana that the
approximately 800-billion-dollar economic recovery bill being debated
in Congress is not perfect. But, he said it is the right size and has
the right priorities to create jobs through spending and tax cuts.
Elkhart is a manufacturing center for recreational vehicles that has
suffered heavy job losses. Its unemployment rate has surged to 15
percent, about twice the national average.
Mr. Obama also said his plan calls for tax relief for 95 percent of
workers, extends unemployment insurance and subsidizes health care for
unemployed people while they look for jobs.
President Obama also took questions from the audience. He told one
questioner that his administration will make sure stimulus funds are
spent quickly and wisely.
Later, the president holds his first prime-time news conference at the
White House, giving him an opportunity to promote his economic recovery
plan to a national audience.
The U.S. Senate holds a vote later Monday to end debate on its version
of a stimulus plan. Majority Democrats hope to win the vote with
support from several Republicans, allowing them to put the economic
package to a full vote on Tuesday.
The Senate must then reconcile the draft with a different version
passed earlier by the House of Representatives before the president can
sign it into law. The House bill has more spending and fewer tax cuts
than the Senate version.
Most Republicans oppose the stimulus proposals, saying they are too costly and should include more tax cuts.
The Obama administration is due to announce an overhaul of the
government's 700-billion-dollar rescue program for the financial
industry on Tuesday.
U.S. media quote people familiar with the issue as saying the new
program will include a government partnership with the private sector
to buy banks' troubled assets.