Obama 'confident' on stimulus vote

US president urges House of Representatives to pass $825bn stimulus package.

    The US's ailing economy has led to millions
    losing their jobs [AFP]

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

    The US economy has been badly battered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, tight credit conditions and a slumping global economy, with companies shedding millions of job in the past year.

    Rob Reynold's, Al Jazeera's senior Washington correspondent, said the stimulus package would be passed because the Democrats control the House of Representatives and have the votes, but that Obama would like some Republican support.

    "The Republicans in the house are very united against the package, mostly for partisan reasons. Obama in turn wants bipartisan support in order to share both the glory and the responsibility," Reynolds said.

    'Unprecedented measures'

    In depth
    Obama also said he was aware of scepticism over the "size and scale" of the plan, which follows an earlier $700bn stimulus package passed by the Bush administration last year.

    "I understand that scepticism given some of the things that have happened in this town in the past," he said at a meeting of business executives in Washington DC.

    "That's why this recovery plan will include unprecedented measures for people to hold my administration accountable.

    "Instead of just throwing money at our problems, we'll ... invest in what works."

    On Tuesday, Democrats in the House of Representatives reportedly gave way to Republican criticism by removing a $200m provision to refurbish the National Mall, the site of Obama's historic inauguration in Washington DC a week ago, ABC News reported.

    The US president also said that decisions over where money from the stimulus package would go would be more transparent, after criticism over the earlier package that it did not state clearly where the money was being
    spent.

    Obama also said that US businesses had to accept their own share of blame for the current crisis, arguing that "corporate America" needed "wise leadership in Washington".

    "They [the companies] understand that when it comes to rebuilding our economy, we don't have a moment to spare.

    "They are looking to Washington for action - bold and swift."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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