Obama Underscores Dire Economic Situation; Congress Poised to Vote on Stimulus

WASHINGTON (RushPRNews) 02/13/09-President Barack Obama has underscored the many challenges facing the U.S. economy, saying 3.6 million jobs have been lost since the recession began. Mr. Obama addressed business leaders at the White House Friday, noting that many of their companies are under tremendous pressure, with revenues falling and credit become scarce.

He spoke as Congress prepares for a vote Friday on a massive economic stimulus plan. Lawmakers had intense negotiations to reach a compromise bill between House of Representatives and Senate versions.

The measure is expected to cost $789 billion. Mr. Obama said Friday the measure will ignite spending, make necessary investments for lasting economic growth and prosperity and save or create more than 3.5 million jobs.
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Negotiators from the Senate and the House of Representatives reached a compromise agreement on Wednesday between plans approved separately by each body. The compromise plan includes some $311 billion in spending on infrastructure, health, energy projects and aid for low-income Americans.

It also includes tax cuts, credits for first-time homebuyers, and funding for U.S. states facing budget shortfalls.

Mr. Obama had hoped to get bipartisan support for the plan, but only three moderate Senate Republicans in the Democratic-controlled Congress took part in the negotiations for the compromise bill.

Thursday in Illinois, Mr. Obama visited a plant owned by the Caterpillar construction equipment company, which has recently announced plans to cut 20,000 jobs. His audience was made up of workers whose jobs have either been lost or are in jeopardy. He said company executives have told him that passing the stimulus plan would allow them to re-hire some of those recently laid off.

photo credit:AP