Tuesday, February 17

President Obama's Stimulus Package signing speech February 17 2009

Today, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, what is commonly known as the economic stimulus package into law while in Denver Colorado.

The full text is below:

It is great to be in Denver. I was here last summer to accept the
nomination of my party and to make a promise to people of all parties - that I
would do all I could to give every American the chance to make of their lives
what they will and see their children climb higher than they did. I am back
today to say that we have begun the difficult work of keeping that promise. We
have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time.

Today does not mark the end of our economic troubles. Nor does it
constitute all of what we must do to turn our economy around. But it 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; to provide relief for families
worried they won't be able to pay next month's bills; and to set our economy on
a firmer foundation, paving the way to long-term growth and prosperity.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that I will sign today - a plan
that meets the principles I laid out in January - is the most sweeping economic
recovery package in our history. It is the product of broad consultations - and
the recipient of broad support - from business leaders, unions, and public
interest groups, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of
Manufacturers, Democrats and Republicans, mayors as well as governors. It is a
rare thing in Washington for people with such different viewpoints to come
together and support the same bill, and on behalf of our nation, I thank them
for it, including your two outstanding new Senators, Michael Bennet and Mark

I also want to thank my Vice President Joe Biden for working behind the
scenes from the very start to make this recovery act possible. I want to thank
Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid for acting so quickly and proving that Congress
could step up to this challenge. I want to thank Max Baucus, Chairman of the
Finance Committee, without whom none of this would have happened. And I want to
thank all the Committee Chairs and members of Congress for coming up with a plan
that is both bold and balanced enough to meet the demands of this moment. The
American people were looking to them for leadership, and that is what they

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, including nearly
60,000 in Colorado. 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.

Because we know we can't build our economic future on the transportation
and information networks of the past, we are remaking the American landscape
with the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower
built an interstate highway system in the 1950s. Because of this investment,
nearly 400,000 men and women will go to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and
bridges, repairing our faulty dams and levees, bringing critical broadband
connections to businesses and homes in nearly every community in America,
upgrading mass transit, and building high-speed rail lines that will improve
travel and commerce throughout the nation.

Because we know America can't out-compete the world tomorrow if our
children are being out educated today, we are making the largest investment in
education in our nation's history. It's an investment that will create jobs
building 21st century classrooms, libraries, and labs for millions of children
across America. It will provide funds to train a new generation of math and
science teachers, while giving aid to states and school districts to stop
teachers from being laid off and education programs from being cut. In New York
City alone, 14,000 teachers who were set to be let go may now be able to
continue pursuing their critical mission. It's an investment that will create a
new $2,500 annual tax credit to put the dream of a college degree within reach
for middle class families and make college affordable for seven million
students, helping more of our sons and daughters aim higher, reach farther, and
fulfill their God-given potential.

Because we know that spiraling health care costs are crushing families and
businesses alike, we are taking the most meaningful steps in years towards
modernizing our health care system. It's an investment that will take the long
overdue step of computerizing America's medical records - to reduce the
duplication and waste that costs billions of health care dollars and the medical
errors that every year cost thousands of lives. Further, thanks to the action we
have taken, seven million Americans who lost their health care along with their
jobs will continue to get the coverage they need, and roughly 20 million more
can breathe a little easier, knowing that their health care won't be cut due to
a state budget shortfall. And an historic commitment to wellness initiatives
will keep millions of Americans from setting foot in the doctor's office for
purely preventable diseases.

Taken together with the enactment earlier this month of a long-delayed law
to extend health care to millions more children of working families, we have
done more in 30 days to advance the cause of health reform than this country has
done in a decade.

Because we know we can't power America's future on energy that's controlled
by foreign dictators, we are taking a big step down the road to energy
independence, and laying the groundwork for a new, green energy economy that can
create countless well-paying jobs. It's an investment that will double the
amount of renewable energy produced over the next three years, and provide tax
credits and loan guarantees to companies like Namaste Solar, a company that will
be expanding, instead of laying people off, as a result of the plan I am

In the process, we will transform the way we use energy. Today, the
electricity we use is carried along a grid of lines and wires that dates back to
Thomas Edison - a grid that can't support the demands of clean energy. This
means we're using 19th and 20th century technologies to battle 21st century
problems like climate change and energy security. It also means that places like
North Dakota can produce a lot of wind energy, but can't deliver it to
communities that want it, leading to a gap between how much clean energy we are
using and how much we could be using.

The investment we are making today will create a newer, smarter electric
grid that will allow for the broader use of alternative energy. We will build on
the work that's being done in places like Boulder, Colorado - a community that
is on pace to be the world's first Smart Grid city. This investment will place
Smart Meters in homes to make our energy bills lower, make outages less likely,
and make it easier to use clean energy. It's an investment that will save
taxpayers over one billion dollars by slashing energy costs in our federal
buildings by 25% and save working families hundreds of dollars a year on their
energy bills by weatherizing over one million homes. And it's an investment that
takes the important first step towards a nationwide transmission superhighway
that will connect our cities to the windy plains of the Dakotas and the sunny
deserts of the Southwest.

Even beyond energy, from the National Institutes of Health to the National
Science Foundation, this recovery act represents the biggest increase in basic
research funding in the long history of America's noble endeavor to better
understand our world. Just as President Kennedy sparked an explosion of
innovation when he set America's sights on the moon, I hope this investment will
ignite our imagination once more, spurring new discoveries and breakthroughs
that will make our economy stronger, our nation more secure, and our planet
safer for our children.

While this package is mostly composed of critical investments, it also
includes aid to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of firefighters
or police recruits - recruits like the ones in Columbus, Ohio who were told that
instead of being sworn-in as officers, they would be let go. It includes help
for those hardest hit by our economic crisis like the nearly 18 million
Americans who will get larger unemployment checks in the mail. And about a third
of this package comes in the form of tax cuts - the most progressive in our
history - not only spurring job-creation, but putting money in the pockets of
95% of all hardworking families. Unlike tax cuts we've seen in recent years, the
vast majority of these tax benefits will go not to the wealthiest Americans but
to the middle class - with those workers who make the least benefiting the most.
And it's a plan that rewards responsibility, lifting two million Americans from
poverty by ensuring that anyone who works hard does not have to raise a child
below the poverty line. As a whole, this plan will help poor and working
Americans pull themselves into the middle class in a way we haven't seen in
nearly fifty years.

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. With a recovery package
of this scale comes a responsibility to assure every taxpayer that we are being
careful with the money they work so hard to earn. That's why I am assigning a
team of managers to ensure that the precious dollars we have invested are being
spent wisely and well. We will hold the governors and local officials who
receive money to the same high standards. And we expect you, the American
people, to hold us accountable for the results. That is why we have created
Recovery.gov - so every American can go online and see how their money is being

As important as the step we take today is, this legislation represents only
the first part of the broad strategy we need to address our economic crisis. In
the coming days and weeks, I will be launching other aspects of the plan. We
will need to stabilize, repair, and reform our banking system, and get credit
flowing again to families and businesses. We will need to end a culture where we
ignore problems until they become full-blown crises instead of recognizing that
the only way to build a thriving economy is to set and enforce firm rules of the
road. We must stem the spread of foreclosures and falling home values for all
Americans, and do everything we can to help responsible homeowners stay in their
homes, something I will talk more about tomorrow. And while we need to do
everything in the short-term to get our economy moving again, we must recognize
that having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit, we need to begin restoring
fiscal discipline and taming our exploding deficits over the long-term.

None of this will be easy. The road to recovery will not be straight and
true. It will demand courage and discipline, and a new sense of responsibility
that has been missing - from Wall Street to Washington. There will be hazards
and reverses 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.

For our American story is not - and has never been - about things coming
easy. It's about rising to the moment when the moment is hard, converting crisis
into opportunity, and seeing to it that we emerge from whatever trials we face
stronger than we were before. It's about rejecting the notion that our fate is
somehow written for us, and instead laying claim to a destiny of our own making.
That is what earlier generations of Americans have done, and that is what we are
doing today.

Thank you.

Tomorrow President Obama will unveil his plans to combat the Mortgage crisis while he is in Arizona, his electoral opponent's home state. John McCain remains one of the Presidents most vocal opponents. The symbolism in this gesture is easily visible.

Where do we go from here?
What will tomorrow bring?
Is this package to little, to late or is it to large in scale and to unfocused to help?

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Where do we go from here? I have no idea - nobody does. It is relatively clear how we got here, but the likes of the morass we have inherited is unprecedented.

    I don't know if the package is too much, too little or too late and I'm not so sure that it matters as much as perception. What Obama brings is hope and the fact that he is doing something, something big - and also unprecedented to some extent - validates that hope. Success will breed success, all we need is a little something to hang on to.

    Tanya sent me


Welcome to the 1461. Join the conversation.
If this is your first visit - read the Comment Guidelines

Remember you have a Constitutionally protected right to anonymous political free speech, not a free pass to be an ass.