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. Matt

    What the difference between $350B in unsupervised bailout money and $350B in corporate tax cuts? NOTHING. Either yo ulet 'em keep it, or you tax 'em and give it back. Now, ask yourself why the GOP suddenly wants to give corporations tax cuts instead of bailout money. That's right: Obama has placed conditions on the bailout money and obviously plans strict oversight of it.

    February 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. HonestMistake

    Probably 80% of the people in this country have money to spend, but have had the fear of God put into them so they aren't spending. So the tax credits for homes and cars will give incentives for those people to start spending again.

    February 4, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Lucy

    Listen to Obama. Do what he says. If we don't, the entire US will be shuttered up. We'll all have to move to Cuba where they have Universal Health Care, Free Education for their people, and everyone gets food, and shelter. Whaddaya think?

    February 4, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Willy Brown

    No need to bash #44’s administration. They have a good enough time of doing it all by themselves. You do that when you have no clue what you are doing in the first place.

    February 4, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Alan

    Yes Yes Yes we need more money for abortions to stimulate the economy!!! yes yes please hurry.

    February 4, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Rushpublicans: Permanent Minority

    The party of Obstruction will go the way of the Whigs.
    Bunch of losers.

    February 4, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. JT

    I have an economic stimulus proposal that will give people hope and security to spend, which could in turn jump start our economic recovery and guarantee a reimbursement period. Tell me what you think. President and Congress should take a period in time when the home foreclosures, balloon loans and other poor lending practices were high. Require those struggling to keep their homes to submit an application to have their home loans (sans interest) paid off by the government. The homeowners should then be required to repay the government a realistic amount of principal only each month over a 30-45 year period. Result? This will give the financial institutions their money. It will ease some of the stresses on Main Street so people can feel secure in their homes, knowing they won’t be put on the street. Thus, we will begin spending money again. Additionally, money would be paid back to the government in a quicker time than waiting on the stimulus reimbursement from institutions.

    While HUD may seem like a suitable cabinet to oversee this proposal, I think the new chief performance officer should oversee the accountability and reimbursement of the stimulus package, especially since there was some concern about the performance officer’s duties duplicating that of the Government Accounting Office.

    February 4, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. LLT

    President Obama"s bill was 775 billion; after the House got through with it it ended up at 819 billion and now the Senate is up to 900 billion. America's form of gov't no longer works in the 21st century...too many elections, too many career politicians, too many political families and too few people willing to change. Time to look at a more accountable, effective form of the British Parliamentary system. The Republicans are trying to tarnish this president; they are not putting country first; they are looking at the 2010 elections and will say anything even if it doesn't work or is outrightly false.

    The Republicans' tax breaks are also pork as they want then included to appeal to their base even though they are proven not to work. What good is a tax break to small business when people have no money? What good is a tax break to families earning less than 125 thousand when they have no job and are losing their homes and to get the full amount the car has to gave cost $49 000. CNN needs to look at all facors in this bill.

    February 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. blessed

    Bob in Pa – not a bad idea. Definitely better than giving it to the banks. The question is ... the president says he wants to hear ideas from the American people.. Will our thoughts get to him or Congress for consideration?? Another idea was to use the billions of dollars set aside for the stimulus package and pay off the housing notes for those whose homes are about to be foreclosed on or are facing challenges paying their mortgages due to the ARMS and other legitimate reasons. They could then be issued more realistic loans to repay the government. That way, the banks have their money. People are not put on the street, and they can start spending again – setting aside money to repay the housing debt (minus the crazy interest)

    February 4, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. EC

    The problem with the Republican party and its LEADERS is one of ideas, not of ideology.

    One minute they are against the stimulus package because it's too big, the next they want more tax cuts, which means more spending.
    Which is it?

    One minute they're against the $3,000 employer job creation tax credits, the next they are against the stimulus package for not doing enough to create new jobs. Which is is?

    Another minute their nip-picking everything in the package and yet they can't seem to implement a single plan or idea that has worked in the past 8 years, so they do what they do best, which is cause as much "distractions" as possible in front of the cameras in the hopes the American people won't notice they've accomplished absolutely nothing.

    The problem here is that they can't seem to put together a coherent idea of what it is they want, all they do is lay blame with everyone else, so they end up not only being unable to negotiate with the Democrats, and unable to even come up with a goal amongst themselves. It's a party of the "blind leading the blind."

    While Republicans are free to oppose Obama's solutions to the financial mess if they think they have better ideas, merely advocating the old failed policies should not be tolerated.

    February 4, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. EVOLVE






    February 4, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. John

    Republicans must not have looked at the 2008 election returns or else they just don't care what the American people want.

    The republican party policies have almost completely bankrupted this and most other countries in the world and now all they want to do is offer up fluff as solutions.

    We have enough of the rich party's trickle down economics, it's time for a change and the obstructionists republicans need to get out of the way.

    February 4, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. alvino


    Obama's popularity is down to 66% and you want him to pack up and leave. When Bush's popularity was in the lower 20% range, he was still trying to cash in his political capital and ruin the country even more. It has to be hard for right wingers like you, to admit that 2 out of every 3 people still support President Obama.

    February 4, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. ANGIE-OH

    the stupid repubs just don't get it. they say they dont like what is in the stimulus package. have they offered up anything better? probably not.

    February 4, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. This is CHANGE

    ...and we are making a mountain out of a molehill?? Just change the words for sake of CHANGE Mr President. Don't forget...you can always say it was either an 'oversight', 'honest mistake' or lastly, 'I screwed up'. Pick your buzz word soon!!

    February 4, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. LIZ

    Didn't we hear hurry, hurry on the last bailout that did nothing. Have more of the big wigs who owe taxes pay them and we might not need this so called Grand Bargain. Put some integrity back into government and ask Geinther to resign–Head of the Treasury and didn't pay his taxes until he became a nominee for Cabinet position. The average citizen would have been fined or worse

    February 4, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Didn't all the Democrats complain that Bush and Cheney were always trying to scare the American public to get through their aganda? How is this different?

    February 4, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. NoHero4America

    This is unbelievable! Everyone in "Government" wants to be a Hero. Will someone please let them know we like our heros in movies. All of the bickering back and forth while America slowly sinks. Maybe we should just dismiss all of the elected officials from Washington and let our top students from our greatest colleges come in and get a stimulus package that will work...and fast! I still agree with giving the money to American citizens. Or helping those states that need it badly for the first 6 months. California, Michigan, New York, Florida, Chicago...etc. Can we really save all 50 states at one time. Did they say condoms were in this package. Ummm HELLO! As hard as times are, common sense is Back! This package should be able to clean up bad habits and stimulate the economy. Production People! Question...Do we make sneakers in America? Do we make cell phones in America? Do we make televisions in America? Maybe its time we take a "few" products that Americans cant seem to live without and produce them ourselves. Meaning...none of these products or its parts can come from other countries. Dont forget Blue jeans(smile).

    February 4, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. Kitty, DC

    That's my boy! And I mean that in a good way. I'm 86 years old and he could be my great grandson.

    Love you Mr. President.

    Obama 2012

    February 4, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. Mariam, VA

    Is anyone taking note of anyone who goes against this president's stimulus package? The country is watcihing. Barack needs their help and we are watching.

    February 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Simmy

    Ttrying to reason with them (R) is like talking to an empty wagon. There's a lot of noise and movement, but no real substanceon board.

    February 4, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. DavidinCA

    Candidate Obama sure had a lot more confidence in his ability to make the economy work again.

    What the heck. He got the job. Let the spending begin. There's plenty of money to be borrowed and plenty of people anxious to get their piece of the pie.

    February 4, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. question

    shut up........stop talking down to us...all this doom and gloom....instead of telling us the sky in falling...why not try to be more encouraging.....you want the public to have faith...telling them they are going to lose everything they own is not the way to go.....yea i am listening to you and i have stopped spending cause i have no faith in your leadership.....or your ability to lead..i am bunkering down for the next four years.....

    February 4, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Steve

    Obama acts as if he got 100% of the vote. His rhetoric is dangerous. If he loses even 5% of his support, he doesn't even have a MAJORITY of the American people behind him. He needs to wake up and not stir up a hornets nest by this rehetoric, or else he will simply be another OTP.....One Term President!

    February 4, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Joanna

    I support Obama. GOP.. YOU LOST, we want change. Stop getting in the way!

    February 4, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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