U.S. President Barack Obama says the struggling American economy will recover and "emerge stronger than before."
In a nationally televised address before a joint session of the U.S.
Congress, Mr. Obama said years of irresponsibility, indecision and
short-term thinking have led to a "day of reckoning" for the world's
biggest economy. He praised lawmakers for passing his $787 billion
economic stimulus plan, which he said will save or create 3.5 million
jobs, many of them in the private sector.
The president announced the creation of a new lending fund that will
revive the flow of credit and provide loans for consumers and
businesses "who keep this economy running." He urged Congress to pass
legislation that will create new regulatory laws that will oversee the
U.S. financial system.
Mr. Obama told lawmakers he will submit a budget that will invest in
energy, health care and education, three areas he said are "absolutely
critical to our economic future."
The president called on Congress to pass legislation to create a
market-based cap on carbon pollution. He also pledged to spend $15
billion a year to develop new technologies like wind and solar power,
advanced biofuels, clean coal, and fuel-efficient vehicles.
He said his budget will lead to a "down payment" on quality, affordable
health care, an issue Mr. Obama said has been neglected for nearly a
century since it was first raised by President Theodore Roosevelt.
The president also said his pending budget will fund such initiatives
as expanding charter schools and providing funds for students to
achieve higher education. Mr. Obama called on young Americans to stay
in high school and earn their diploma, saying they are quitting on both
themselves and the nation if they abandon their education.