Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Obama 'confident' on economy vote

President Obama said the economy could be turned around

US President Barack Obama says he is confident his $825bn (576bn) economic recovery plan, which could save jobs, will be passed by Congress.

Mr Obama called on businesses to play their part in economic recovery by creating jobs in a "favourable climate" started by government.

He said workers were looking for "bold and swift" action from leaders.

He was speaking ahead of a House vote, and added that he hoped to sign the bill in the next few weeks.

"I am confident that we are going to get it passed," Mr Obama said.

The US "cannot afford inaction or delay", the US leader said after meeting business leaders at the White House.

Laying the blame for the economic crisis partially on a "sense of irresponsibility" in Wall St and the government in Washington DC, he said corporate America had to take responsibility for its workers, but that Washington needed to provide leadership with the stimulus plan.

Expand Medicaid: $87bn
Help state governments: $79bn
Help school districts: $41bn
Higher unemployment benefits: $36bn
Rebuild roads: $30bn
Computerise medical records: $20bn
Green electricity grid: $11bn
Source: House Appropriations Committee

"[Executives] understand that what makes an idea sound is not whether it's Democrat or Republican, but whether it makes good economic sense for their workers and companies.

"And they understand that when it comes to rebuilding our economy we don't have a moment to spare."


Mr Obama's proposals include tax credits for firms that create jobs, tax cuts for 95% of American workers and extended unemployment benefits.

The president said most of the money in the stimulus plan would be used "immediately", creating 3-4 million jobs - the vast majority in the private sector.

He said the plans would also provide alternative energy, safer roads, better healthcare, modern schools and better broadband, among other measures.

He also said there would be a greater measure of accountability, with a public website outlining where and why investments were made, in a bid to "earn back the trust in government".

Republicans lack the votes to defeat Mr Obama's stimulus bill on their own, but could slow its progress, especially in the Senate.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was sworn in on Monday, has the task of trying to get the US economy back in shape.

The stimulus package also includes:

  • More than 3,000 miles of new electricity transmission lines would be laid down to improve the US power network
  • 75% of public sector buildings would be made more energy-efficient, saving taxpayers $2bn a year
  • More than 2.5m homes would be "weatherized" (made more energy efficient)
  • Funds would be made available to improve or renovate 10,000 schools

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