Obama 'on target' to win stimulus plan approval
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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus unveiled a $275 billion package of tax cuts and incentives aimed at boosting a struggling economy as US President Barack Obama claimed efforts to win support for the plan were "on target".
REUTERS - President Barack Obama said on Friday he appeared to be "on target" to win approval by mid-February for an economic stimulus plan to boost the ailing economy but some differences remained to be worked out.
"We are experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis that has to be dealt with, and dealt with rapidly," Obama, on his third full day in office, told reporters as he met congressional leaders from both parties at the White House.
Obama spoke a day after the U.S. House of Representatives committees on Thursday backed a raft of tax cuts and spending programs as part of the $825 billion package to boost the ailing economy, despite Republican complaints that their proposals were not getting a fair hearing.
"I recognize that there are still some difference around the table and between the administration and members of Congress about particular details on the plan," Obama said.
But he added, "It appears that we are on target to make our Presidents Day weekend" goal for the stimulus plan.
The United States marks Presidents Day on Feb. 16.
He stressed a need to act with urgency, saying his daily briefings with senior economic advisers had enabled him to monitor economic conditions and "frankly the news has not been good."
"Each day brings greater focus on the problems not only in terms of job loss but also in terms of some of the instabilities of the financial system," Obama said.
The stimulus package is one part of at least a three-pronged effort to tackle the economic crisis, he said.
Obama criticized what he called a "lack of accountability and transparency" in managing distributed funds under financial stability programs instituted under the Bush administration and said reforms would be needed.
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