Obama calls for new stimulus plan

US presidential candidate calls for tougher regulation of financial institutions.

    Obama criticised John McCain's
    economic strategy [Reuters]
    George Bush, the US president, signed off a $168 billion stimulus package aimed at boosting the economy in February.
    The two-year plan means many US households will receive between $300 and $1,200 in tax rebate cheques, which the government hopes people will spend, pumping much-needed cash into the economy.
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    In its proposed budget for next year, the Senate has approved a second stimulus program that would cost about $35 billion.
    The House of Representatives' budget plan does not have that provision.
    The two chambers must work out their differences before finishing the fiscal 2009 budget.
    Clinton speaks
    At the end of a month when the US Federal Reserve helped shore up the ailing financial system and financed the takeover of Bear Stearns, a major Wall Street bank, Obama said the new rules should include tighter controls on financial institutions.
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    "If you can borrow from the government, you should be subject to government oversight and supervision," he said.
    Obama also condemned Republican strategies for the economy saying John McCain's economic plan "amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen."
    McCain responded to Obama's speech by issuing a statement, saying "there is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face."
    Polls rate the economy as the most important issue for many voters and Obama's speech, just a few miles from Wall Street, was a fresh attempt to focus his campaign on that subject.
    Obama is locked in a tight contest for the Democratic presidential nomination with Hillary Clinton, a New York senator, who said on Thursday that struggling US homeowners needed immediate relief.
    Speaking in North Carolina Clinton also said McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate, was unprepared to deal with an economic crisis.
    "The phone is ringing, and he would just let it ring and ring," Clinton said, echoing the "3 am phone call" television commercial she used earlier to suggest she was more qualified than Obama to handle a national security crisis.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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