Washinton: US President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that the US economy was getting sicker every day, injecting another jolt of urgency into his calls for Congress to pass his huge stimulus bill.
The president also called on lawmakers to bridge old partisan divides and line up behind the $900 billion package, in another veiled shot at Republicans who are opposed to significant parts of the bill.
“By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression,” Obama said in an opinion article in The Washington Post.
“Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone -- millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished.”
Obama heaped more pressure on Congress to pass the bill, as wrangling on its contents went on in the Senate amid more grim economic data.
“Every day, our economy gets sicker -- and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now,” Obama wrote.
“We have a choice to make, we can once again let Washington’s bad habits stand in the way of progress.
“Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn’t written for us, but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship.”
Obama also made reference to his election victory in November for the third time in two days, making clear the point to Republicans that he believes he has a mandate to push through change.
He also blamed past Republican policies and a dearth of infrastructure spending for the economic crisis and impact of catastrophies such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and a Minnesota bridge collapse in 2007.
“We’ve seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail,” Obama said.
It was still unclear when the final vote on the Senate version of the package would take place, as lawmakers worked through long lists of amendments.
Republicans are complaining that the bill contains insufficient tax cuts and is laden with spending on unnecessary projects which will not immediately create jobs.