Obama Signs Stimulus Package

Posted February 17, 2009 at 2:59pm

Returning to Denver, the city where he received the Democratic nomination, President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed the $787 billion stimulus bill, calling it a “balanced plan” that mixes tax cuts and spending while providing the public with a clear view of how the money will be spent.

“I’m back today to say we have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive,” Obama said during a ceremony also attended by Vice President Joseph Biden, Colorado lawmakers and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

“I don’t want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems,” Obama said. “But today does mark the beginning of the end.”

Obama, who failed to convince any House Republicans to support the measure while only picking up three Senate Republicans, nevertheless portrayed the legislation as having widespread support. He said it was the result of “broad consultation” and was backed by “Democrats and Republicans,” pointing to city and state GOP officials who endorsed the measure and its desperately needed local funding.

With Republicans objecting to provisions they say are not stimulative, Obama asserted that the legislation would put “Americans to work doing the work America needs done” in “areas that have been neglected for too long.” The president highlighted funding for roads, education, computerized medical records, and renewable energy and science, priorities long sought by Democrats and some Republicans.

The tax cuts in the package, which some Republicans have panned as the wrong kind, are “the most progressive in our history,” Obama said, contrasting them with tax benefits he said accrued to the wealthy during the years of GOP rule.

Obama noted that more economic initiatives are in the pipeline, including an expected sweeping proposal to “stabilize, repair and reform” the banking system and an initiative to be announced Wednesday to “stem the spread of foreclosures.”