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Latest update : 2009-01-29

US President Barack Obama said in a televised address Wednesday that distribution of stimulus packages would be publicly available. His comments come as US Congress on Wednesday prepares to vote on his $825 billion stimulus plan.

AFP - President Barack Obama called Thursday on corporate America to assume its responsibilities for economic recovery, but stressed that companies need "wise leadership" from Washington.

"Corporate America will have to accept its own responsibilities to its workers and to the American public," he said after meeting 13 business leaders in the White House.

"But these executives also understand that without wise leadership in Washington, even the best-run businesses can't do as well as they might," he said, as the House of Representatives was set to vote on a huge stimulus bill.

"And they understand that when it comes to rebuilding our economy, we don't have a moment to spare," Obama said. "They are looking to Washington for action -- bold and swift."

With the House vote imminent and the Senate expected to take up Obama's 825-billion-dollar stimulus bill next week, the president said he hoped to sign it into law "in the next few weeks."

Appealing to reluctant Republicans in Congress and reaching out to the public at large, Obama said: "The businesses that are shedding jobs to stay afloat -- they cannot 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 theirs will be the next job cut -- they need help now."

Taking on critics who argue the stimulus would dramatically expand the scope of government, Obama said the "vast majority" of the three to four million jobs he hopes to save or create would be in the private sector.

"Because, as these CEOs well know, business, not government, is the engine of growth in this country," he said after the meeting with heads of companies including Internet titan Google, airline Jet Blue and insurer Aetna.

Date created : 2009-01-28