Obama signs $787 billion stimulus package

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

United States President Barack Obama has signed a US$787 billion stimulus package, entitled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, into law on Tuesday at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado. He called the bill "the most sweeping recovery package in our history" at a signing ceremony.

Obama signs the ARRA into law.

"I don't want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems, nor does it constitute all of what we're going to have to do to turn our economy around," Obama said at the ceremony, "but today does mark the beginning of the end — the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs.

"The beginning of what we need to do to provide relief from families worried they won't be able to pay next month's bills. The beginning of the first steps to set our economy on a firmer foundation, paving the way to long-term growth and prosperity."

Less than a month into his presidency, the president is about to sign into law what is, I believe, a landmark achievement

—Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden praised the president on his work getting the bill passed. "Less than a month into his presidency, the president is about to sign into law what is, I believe, a landmark achievement," he said. "Because of what he did America can take a first very strong step leading us out of this very difficult road to recovery we find ourselves with. So, on behalf of our country and its people, Mr President, let me presume to say: thank you, we owe you a great deal."

According to Obama, the package is intended to save or create up to three and a half million jobs, and increase rebuilding infrastructure and consumer spending. 34% of the package is devoted to tax cuts equalling $286 billion, and a further $120 billion will be used to fund infrastructure projects, such as road-building and transportation. 64% of the package will be allocated for money for social programs and spending.

Do you think that the stimulus package will help the economy?

Most Republican lawmakers opposed the bill when it was voted upon in the Senate and the House last week. The House passed the bill without any Republican support, and only three Republicans voted for it in the Senate.

The flawed bill the President will sign today is a missed opportunity

—John Boehner, House Republican leader

"Our nation is in recession, and responsible action is required to help our economy protect and create jobs, this isn't it," said John Boehner, the House Republican minority leader. "The flawed bill the President will sign today is a missed opportunity, one for which our children and grandchildren will pay a hefty price."

Republican National Committee chairman Michael S. Steele said he was disappointed by what he thought was the president's lack of a bipartisan approach in passing the bill: "In these difficult economic times, it is imperative that Republicans and Democrats work together to create new jobs and grow the economy. Instead, Congressional Democrats worked behind closed doors to write legislation that will fall short of creating the promised new jobs, but will guarantee a larger debt burden on our children and grandchildren."

US stock markets were lower today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 3.29% or 258.62 points at the end of the day to a level of 7,591.79.