Historic Stimulus Bill -- Obama's First Big Victory
Washington AFRO, News Report, Sean Yoes Posted: Feb 16, 2009
(February 14, 2009) - Late last night the Senate followed the lead of the House and passed a historic $787 billion stimulus package that President Barack Obama fought vigorously for and he says he will sign it into law by President’s Day.
“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,” Obama said during his weekly radio internet address Saturday.
But, the president also warned the recovery plan is no instant panacea.
“This historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but rather the beginning,” Obama said. “The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread and our response must be equal to the task.”
The Senate vote was 60-38 again, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania supporting the economic recovery package. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown cast the 60th and deciding vote after attending a wake for his mother Friday night. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, was not present for the Senate vote.
The package includes $212 billion in tax breaks for individuals and businesses, about $120 billion for infrastructure, $100 billion for education and another $30 billion in energy related projects. The majority of the money—about $267 billion—is in direct spending for states that are crumbling under budget deficits, unemployment benefits and health care subsidies, among other initiatives.
“This historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but rather the beginning,...”
No House Republicans voted for the recovery package earlier Friday and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell voiced the opinion of the vast majority of the his Senate Republican colleagues.
“A stimulus bill that was supposed to be timely, targeted and temporary is none of the above,” McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor. “And this means Congress is about to approve a stimulus that’s unlikely to have much stimulative effect.”
The Congressional Budget Office has predicted the plan will create between 1 million and 3 million jobs. The Obama administration argues the package will create or save up to 3.5 million jobs.
“We know this bill alone will not solve all our economic woes overnight,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat. “We know that the road back to economic stability and prosperity will require hard work over time. But, this bill is the right size and scope necessary to truly help us turn things around.”
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