Late today, the House of Representatives passed President Barack Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus plan aimed at creating jobs and providing tax cuts to individuals and businesses. The vote was 244-to-188. Despite the president’s efforts over the past few days to rally support among Republicans, not one voted for the plan. Only 18 Democrats voted against it.
The president is trying to drum up support for his stimulus plan in the private sector as well. This morning at the White House, Obama met with executives from corporations like IBM, Jet Blue, and Honeywell. In comments after the meeting, the president insisted swift action is needed: “The businesses that are shedding jobs to stay afloat — they can’t afford inaction or delay. The workers who are returning home to tell their husbands and wives and children that they no longer have a job, and all those who live in fear that their job will be next on the cutting blocks — they need help now. They are looking to Washington for action, bold and swift. And that is why I hope to sign an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan into law in the next few weeks. And most of the money that we’re investing as part of this plan will get out the door immediately and go directly to job creation, generating or saving 3 to 4 million new jobs. And the vast majority of these jobs will be created in the private sector, because, as these CEOs well know, business, not government, is the engine of growth in this country.”
The stimulus plan now moves to the Senate for a vote. President Obama is pushing for quick Senate approval, in order for the bill to reach his desk in time to be signed into law on Feb. 16, President’s Day.