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Page last updated at 18:33 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Obama urges stimulus bill action

US President Barack Obama: 'The time for action is now'

US President Barack Obama has warned Congress that "the time for talk is over" on an economic stimulus bill.

The US Senate could vote on the $900bn (600bn) package by the end of Thursday, according to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.

Moderate senators from both parties are working to strip some spending commitments out of the legislation in order to garner bipartisan support.

Mr Obama has said he wants the stimulus package passed by 16 February.

Spending cuts

"The time for talk is over, the time for action is now," Mr Obama said in a speech at the Energy Department.

"I am calling on the members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to rise to this moment. The scale and the scope of this plan is the right one."

SENATE BILL: ACT KEY POINTS
Tax cuts for working families: $247bn
Job-creating investments in infrastructure and science: $165bn
Job-creating investments in health: $153bn
Job-creating investments in education and training: $138bn
Job-creating investments for an energy independent America: $82bn
Job-creating investments tax cuts for small businesses: $21bn
Helping Americans hit hard by the economic crisis: $72bn
Source: Senate Appropriations Committee

Moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson and his centrist Republican colleague Susan Collins have been meeting in an attempt to draw up a list of spending cuts in the hope of attracting more Republican votes in favour of the package.

Ms Collins wants the bill's $900bn pricetag reduced to $650-700bn, although Mr Obama is unlikely to favour such a large reduction.

Reducing the number of spending commitments in the bill will make it less palatable to many Democrats, however, especially in the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, senators amended the bill to include an expanded tax credit for home-owners and softened a provision that would have ensured that only US iron, steel and manufactured goods were used in projects funded by the bill.

If approved, the bill will go to a conference committee where the differences between the versions passed by the Senate and House will be ironed out.

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