US senate debates stimulus plan

Democrats push for early vote, but Republicans wary of $937bn package.

     Obama has urged politicians to pass the
    bill as quickly as possible [AFP] 

    Obama had said in Washington on Thursday: "The time for talk is over, the time for action is now."

    "I am calling on the members of congress, Democrats and Republicans, to rise to this moment."

    Obama 'frustration'

    In depth

    Q&A: US stimulus plan

    Global cost of the US stimulus plan

    Obama locks horns with congress

    US job loss rate soars

    The US president has said he wants to be able to sign the bill into law by February 16.

    Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer, reporting from Washington, said Obama seemed to have become more and more frustrated with Republican opposition to the deal.

    On Thursday, Obama condemned what he described as the "petty politics" and "false theories" of the plan's critics, saying the time had come to show "leadership" over the economic crisis.

    Republicans complain that the bill is too large, contains insufficient tax cuts and is filled with spending on unnecessary projects which will not immediately create jobs.

    Rising unemployment

    Latest labour department data, meanwhile, piled further pressure on politicians to act quickly to fix the country's faltering economy.

    Figures showed that 598,000 jobs have been lost in January, the largest cut in 34 years.

    The unemployment rate also surged to 7.6 per cent.

    The White House said the figures were evidence that the US economy was "contracting greatly".

    "These numbers, and the very real suffering of American workers they represent, reinforce the need for bold fiscal action," said Christina Romer, the chairwoman of Obama's council of economic advisers.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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