Continuing a tradition of the modern presidency, President Barack Obama delivered his first weekly address and in keeping with his technology-focused campaign used video to reach the American public.
With both houses of Congress busy working out the final details of the massive recovery plan, the President is expected to be on Capitol Hill next week to meet with Republican lawmakers in an attempt to build bipartisan support for the package. Last week the House and Senate majorities released details of the $825 billion bill as debate ensued over the balance between tax cuts, an idea more favored by Republicans, and direct spending on items such as infrastructure, looked upon favorably by Democrats as well as the minority on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Senate majority is expected to mark up the bill next Tuesday and a floor vote is expected in the House on Wednesday.
In his weekly address, President Obama made the case for the recovery package, stating, “It’s a plan that will save or create three to four million jobs over the next few years, and one that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment - the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there’s so much work to be done.” He went on to detail aspects of the legislation, formally the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that he claimed merit support from Congress.
Among the items President Obama mentioned were the renovation and modernization of 10,000 schools, providing a $2,500 college tax credit to four million students, building a new electricity grid that would lay down more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines, repairing and modernizing thousands of miles of roadways, and securing 90 major ports and creating a better communications network for law enforcement and public safety officials.
The President acknowledged that some people do not believe the plan will work. He said, “I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan. I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan must and will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my Administration accountable for these results. We won’t just throw money at our problems - we’ll invest in what works.” One of the major commitments President Obama has made in connection with the economic recovery package is that there will be transparency in the process and has announced a new website – www.recovery.gov – that will track the administration’s progress.