US President Barack Obama was making another push for congressional approval of his economic rescue package hours after accusing critics of his nearly US$1 trillion plan of ignoring the depth of the US financial crisis.
Talking to fellow Democrats in Williamsburg, Virginia, on Thursday night Obama said the package “is not going to be absolutely perfect,” and that no one was going to get everything they wanted in it. But he said the plan’s scope was right and he reiterated his message that inaction would bring catastrophe.
The economic stimulus package is Obama’s top legislative priority. He has worked hard to obtain at least some Republican support for it — with no luck so far.
“He’s saying that he’s willing to go anywhere and talk to anybody in order to get a recovery and reinvestment plan that moves this economy forward,” press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
A US$819 billion version of the bill passed in the House of Representatives last week and in the Senate, moderates worked late on Thursday to cut tens of billions of dollars from the US$920 billion Senate version hopefully clearing the way for passage.
Passage of the bill in the Senate would turn the tide on a bad week for Obama, who had seen two nominees for key positions withdraw under a cloud of tax problems. Another Cabinet nominee hit an obstacle on Thursday — a Senate panel abruptly postponed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis after revelations that her husband had some tax problems.
Obama has not had much luck so far building bipartisan support for the huge stimulus measure. As it was constructed in both houses of Congress, pet Democratic spending programs were inserted into the measure, providing easy public targets for Republican criticism.