US congress 'delays stimulus vote'

Vote delayed despite compromise deal forged between both chambers on Wednesday.

    Obama says the stimulus plan could create up to four
    million new jobs [Reuters]

    The package was finalised on Wednesday after marathon talks between house and senate negotiators from both the Republican and Democratic parties and days of disagreement.

    Disaster warning

    Barack Obama, the US president, wants congress to pass the bill before 16 February so he can sign it into law, warning the US faces economic "disaster".

    Republicans, and some moderate Democrats, had argued that previous versions of the package had been too large and did not provide enough tax cuts.

    In depth
    Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds says that the bill is expected to pass, marking a significant political victory for Obama early on in his administration.

    Obama, meanwhile, is expected to visit the town of Peoria, Illinois, where he will visit a factory owned by Caterpillar.

    The firm, which recently announced plans to shed up to 20,000 jobs, said it could rehire some of the workers if the package was passed.

    Obama has said the stimulus package could create up to four million jobs at a time when US unemployment levels are reaching their highest levels in decades.

    Sales rise

    The current version is split 36 per cent for tax cuts and 64 per cent in spending on construction projects and other provisions, just below the 40/60 split Obama had requested.

    The move comes as US retail sales rose unexpectedly in January, rising one per cent after six consecutive months of decline, the US commerce department said on Thursday.

    Analysts say that higher fuel prices and aggressive discounts in new year sales by companies have contributed to the rise, and that the upward trend is unlikely to last.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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