2009-01-14 / Features

Mayor Likes Obama's Stimulus Plan, But Some Dem Senators Don't

BY JOHN TOSCANO

The mayor said a study released the same day as Obama's speech by Build America's Future, "shows it's crystal clear the public wants strong accountability in any package, and that is a good place to start any plan". The mayor said a study released the same day as Obama's speech by Build America's Future, "shows it's crystal clear the public wants strong accountability in any package, and that is a good place to start any plan". Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the speech last Thursday outlining Presidentelect Barack Obama's $775 billion stimulus plan, called it a great speech, and said Obama understands cities must be a major focus in the recovery plans.

Bloomberg also agreed with Obama's terming infrastructure investments vital because they provide "the structure we need to go forward for decades". But, he warned, "However we invest our resources in a stimulus plan, we have to ensure we are making smart investments, and that we get real, tangible returns."

The mayor said a study released the same day as Obama's speech by Build America's Future, "shows it's crystal clear the public wants strong accountability in any package, and that is a good place to start any plan".

In the speech, delivered at George Mason University in Virginia, the president-elect called for a $1,000 tax cut for 95 percent of working families, repairing bridges, schools and federal buildings; modernizing educational institutions with 21st century classrooms; computerizing all medical records within five years, and doubling alternative energy in the next three years.

The plan is aimed at creating or saving 3 million jobs and putting about $300 billion into the economy to spur spending and getting the economy moving.

The new president who is to be sworn in six days from now, warned that the U.S. is caught in a deep economic crisis which could get worse if no action is taken to combat it quickly.

"I don't believe it's too late to change course, but it will be if we don't take dramatic action as soon as possible," Obama warned.

However, the president-elect's American Recovery and Reinvestment plan tax-cutting proposals ran into some opposition from the U.S. Senate. Some Democratic lawmakers said the cuts would provide enough stimulus for families to spend the extra $10 or $20 a week they would take home. They also criticized a proposed $3,000 tax credit for companies that they said would not achieve the goal of creating new jobs.

The mayor said the speech was "the opening salvo of a long, difficult battle to reform the way this country spends money and to get the economy moving again".

"[Obama] understands he is going to have to lead the charge and it is not going to be done without both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and both sides of the aisle working together," Bloomberg said.

The mayor said he and other mayors have been championing investments in infrastructure improvements because the country has a long history of success in that area historically.

While Obama was urging quick action on the stimulus to give the economy a boost, it appeared that Congress was not thinking along the same path. For one thing, Democratic senators late Thursday said they were considering attaching legislation allowing bankruptcy courts to modify mortgage loans to prevent foreclosures to the stimulus package, a plan previously opposed by Republicans.

Meanwhile, a poll by Rasmussen Reports showed that by 55 to 21 percent, people favored major tax cuts. Also according to a Politico/Allstate survey, nearly four out of five Americans backed Obama's recovery plan.

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