February 4th, 2009
03:57 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama warns of turning a 'crisis into a catastrophe'

 President Obama says Congress must act without delay on his economic plan.

President Obama says Congress must act without delay on his economic plan.

(CNN) - President Obama warned Wednesday that failure to act immediately on his economic aid plan "will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession."

"Millions more jobs will be lost. More businesses will be shuttered. More dreams will be deferred," Obama said, as Senate debate continued on amendments to the stimulus package.

Watch: President, Geithner discuss the economy

The House last week passed an $819 billion version of the plan, but no Republican voted in favor of it. The president has been trying to gain Republican support before the Senate votes on its version of the bill.

Debate on amendments to the bill is expected to last all week in the Senate. A vote could come as early as Friday.

Republicans are calling for a plan with more tax cuts and less spending. They also want more emphasis on helping homeowners. One Republican proposal could double the tax credit for home buying from $7,500 to $15,000.

Obama has said he wants to make sure Republican ideas are incorporated into the final legislation, but he said Wednesday that Congress should "not make the perfect the enemy of the essential" and brushed off recent criticism of the plan.

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Filed under: Congress • economic stimulus • President Obama
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    All this finger pointing about who fault this crisis belongs to, is silly, in the last forty to sixty years we have had one or the other major party in charge, Jimmy Carter actually had the 60 senate votes, but congress still did nothing.
    Democrats, Republicans no difference, both have lost the way of the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. Both parties do not represent the people anymore. Both major parties are playing the people as pawns, while they do what the large corporate campaign contributors, special interest groups, and Lobbyists, tell them to do, while they line their pockets with taxpayer money. This country’s Government is no longer of the people, for the people, and by the people, this nation’s government is no better than England, when the founding fathers risked everything to begin a nation based on freedom and liberty for all, even the poor working American citizen.

    February 4, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. pete in NY

    people please listen to what the messiah is saying. Basically it comes down to it is unpatriotic or stupid to ask if the stimulus package makes any sense. We should just throw money at favorite democrat programs and then worry later about how we will fund social security, medicare and our military. This is insanity. A stimulus is needed but making stupid decisions because BO had declared it an 'emergency " is absolute insanity.

    There is never time to do it right but there is always time to do it again!!!

    February 4, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Bob

    Obama is the catastrophe!

    February 4, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. kayla


    February 4, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Matt

    Then might I suggest Mr. President that you tell the Democrats to include the Republicans in creating a stimulus bill that has real jobs and not hand outs. Do not burden future generations of Americans just so a bunch of people that don't pay taxes get even more hand outs.

    Fix my roads, fix the pipes under my city, improve the way the water flows, build flood protection systems. Give us job Mr. President not some tax credits for being slothful and lazy.

    February 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. naqib


    Use fear to get something stupid done... and here the dems accuse only repubs of this type of behavior.

    Fear Mongoring didn't leave with Cheney... it's alive and well with Bamer!

    February 4, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The Republican Party needs to be abandoned forever because the Bush era of destruction is over.

    February 4, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Marc PTD

    Sounds like Obama's already laying the groundwork for his excuses for failure... Predictable: Obama is elected in a euphoric wave by democrats who think of him as some kind of savior ("but please ignore the lack of experience – that's all so overrated...") then cry out as they take offense at anyone second guessing their Messiah ("you're a partisan!"). And when he fails (and it's inevitable that he'll suffer failures – all presidents do, and come on, he's not really the Messiah) it'll all be someone else's fault – probably the Republicans. Very predictable; even before he took office. The problem with someone being put so high up on a pedestal is it's such a long way to fall when they eventually do. And ALL presidents fall. They're only human after all. And it's a complex world And Obama really has no experience with executive leadership, and not very much with politics. You don't win all the time. But the apostles will have a hard time accepting it when it happens. Easy to predict.

    February 4, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Max

    The dems are in control of everything in the federal government and yet they're still trying to blame the Republicans? What a joke! 😀

    February 4, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. lr

    what a mess. I do not even know what is best way to really improve the economy. It is so scary.
    I think that the bonuses from bailouts should be returned.
    I think that whole economy, the whole structure has to be redesigned, but what people will do meanwhile?

    February 4, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    Yes we can... Borrow from our grandchildren and have them foot the bill.

    February 4, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. steve r.

    Time is wasting people. Can they meet in the middle by the Dems take out a few spending ideas and the Reps give up the thought of tax breaks for the rich. This if not acted on fast will be more harmful than the existing package is now!!! Stubborn,stubborn,stubborn.

    February 4, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Tina, NC

    My goodness, the Republicans are loosing their minds with happy hatred that they and their leaders have stalled this thing. Could you possibly look around and see that your neighbors house is empty and they are now homeless and jobless and that more are becoming that way by the day.

    Meanwhile, all the Republicans have to offer is tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate tax cuts. Yes let's trust the wealthy and the corporations to spend the money. They would like for us to believe that the guy who makes 30k a year will spend less of a tax cut than the guy who makes 300K. They've been saying the same old tired crap for 8YEARS and look where we are.

    I'm being to think that the Republicans should all thrown their lot in with Rush and come out and speak the truth "They want Obama to fail".

    February 4, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. Al Phillips

    Can someone please explain to me how a tax cut for those purchasing a new home or car will provide stimulus to the economy and create jobs when individuals are first losing jobs and can't afford a new home or car. The majority of americans won't even qualify to purchase either. This DOES absolutely nothing for the people who need the stimulous the most. Tax cuts won't work, we tried that before. How is putting a few more dollars in americans pockets going to help anyone who is unemployed in the first place.

    February 4, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. J. S.

    The government fooled us once into believing only a bailout would save us–If all the politicians paid their back taxes, we might not need a bailout. Geinther needs to do the right thing–show some backbone and resign. That's the castrophe!!

    February 4, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Obama 2.0

    Republican Congress people are trying to cause this President to fail, at the expense of Americans that do not have cash flow like they do.

    February 4, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Mike,Texas

    The obstructionist Party sure loves their job.Tax the Rich and corporate america the same as 1950's and 1960's tax code and wathch america grow.

    February 4, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. Lilly

    Spend our way out of debt. Yeah, this is really going to work. Too bad these politicians can pull the wool over the American publics' eyes. Too bad so many politicians may really think it will help. Sorry folks – it's a sham. We need to bite the bullet, tighten our belts and ride out the recession/depression. Truth hurts.

    February 4, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. BB

    End the spending in Iraq.

    End welfare for illegals.

    That should be some small start, but a start.

    February 4, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    I'm back.

    "That guy's wise." Obama.

    I think there is universal agreement that something needs to be done. But, I find it ironic that those who are criticizing "big government" are the same ones who inflated the government to record size-and deficits-earlier this decade.

    The same critics who are blasting spending such as $500M for new goverment cars. Cars to be purchased from US auto makers. On and on. Whining over <1% of all of the spending. Let the man have his way so arguments can carry some weight and credibility.

    I think the past 25030 years have demonstrated that 'trickle-down" economics doesn't work because of simple human greed.

    Rudy NYC

    February 4, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Looks like Obama wins on this one. Both Republican Govenors and Mayors are siding with the President. Tax cuts help people with jobs....tax cuts do not help unemployed people. Frankly given the economy ...not sure a little extra cash would be spent....probably would be saved. Fact is.........we are in a mess and not sure if 5 trillion would even help much. THIS IS BIG. During the Great Depression 50% of the economy was Agriculture based, people had never heard of a credit cards, and most folks DID NOT OWN MORTGAGES (HOMES) ...they rented !!! Now you think we aren't in trouble ??? Cutting taxes ....and....a trillion dollars is actually laughable. Both are not enough. Believe me much more to come over the next several years...we had better get started now so we can get adjusted as to what may be in the future.

    February 4, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Bob in Pa

    Let's take a big step back here. If Washington is so willing to spend our money, let’s take this stimulus to down to a to a consumers level, looking up. No bailouts needed.

    There is an estimated 303,824,640 people in the US. Just working with that number, lets "give" each person $20,000. That means a family of 4 would get $80,000. I'm sure you could put some qualifiers on this to reduce the number of actual recipients The total amount is just over 6 trillion dollars..

    Now, What would you do with $20,000. That family of 4, might pay off their Mortgage, credit cards, or student loans. This would instantly free up the credit markets. Maybe some would buy a new house, build an addition or a new car, instantly reviving several more industries. And of course there would be lots of misc purchases. States would have an instant increase in sales tax revenues. Everyone is happy.

    I don't know about you but that sounds a whole lot nicer than just propping up some banks and car companies, hoping that we will get thru this and not get stuck with the bill again.

    February 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Is he telling the truth? Delay will turn a crisis into a catastrophe?

    Is that fear-mongering? I think it is the truth. In fact, the truth is probably a lot worse than anyone wants to publicly state.

    February 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Bob in Pa

    Beetleguese dude, think you've been watching Conspiracy Theory too many times.

    February 4, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. crionics

    With the unemployment on the rise, it's only fitting that I use this slogan:

    Got Change?

    February 4, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
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