Signing the Stimulus

Feb 17, 2009 5:56pm

President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion, 1,071 page, "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" today, capping a whirlwind month-long effort to pass an economic plan the president says is the “most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.”

“What makes this recovery plan so important is not just that it will create or save three and a half million jobs over the next two years,” Obama told an audience of 300 elected officials and members of the ‘green energy’ community in Denver, Colo. “It’s that we are putting Americans to work doing the work that America needs done in critical areas that have been neglected for too long –- work that will bring real and lasting change for generations to come.”

But Obama emphasized that this bill signing is just the beginning and that the road ahead will not be easy.

"The road to recovery will not be straight. We will make progress and there may be some slippage along the way. But I have every confidence that if we are willing to continue doing the difficult work that must be done –- by each of us and by all of us –- then we will leave this struggling economy behind us, and come out on the other side, more prosperous as a people.”

About a third of the massive bill includes tax cuts the White House says will spur business growth and save working families’ money. The rest of the bill is divided up between aid to states — who are clamoring for federal government help in the face of massive budget deficits — and direct spending on infrastructure projects dubbed “shovel ready” by the Obama team.

“What I am signing, then, is a balanced plan with a mix of tax cuts and investments. It is a plan that’s been put together without earmarks or the usual pork barrel spending. And it is a plan that will be implemented with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability,” Obama said.

To that end, the president also announced the launch of a new website, www.recovery.gov, designed to allow citizens to follow up on the effectiveness of the bill and see specifically how each dollar is being spent in their state.

President Obama also tried to highlight other aspects of his economic recovery plan, including upgrading the country’s power grid and encouraging “green energy” businesses such as solar power companies. Obama toured a solar panel set up on the roof of the building where he signed the legislation into law.

– Jake Tapper, Jon Garcia and Sunlen Miller

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