February 14th, 2009
11:34 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama praises Congress for passing a 'major milestone'

President Obama praised Congress for passing the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.
President Obama praised Congress for passing the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In his weekly address, President Obama praised Congress for passing the $787 billion economic stimulus package Friday, saying its efforts "delivered a real and tangible progress for the American people."

Obama, who lobbied House and Senate members of both parties, said in his address released Saturday that the bill passage marks a "major milestone on our road to recovery."

Watch: Obama's weekly address

"I want to thank the members of Congress who came together in common purpose to make it happen," he said. "Because they did, I will sign this legislation into law shortly, and we'll being making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done."

Obama also promised greater transparency in how the taxpayers' dollars are being spent.

"Once the plan is put into action, a new website -– recovery.gov -– will allow any American to watch where the money goes and weigh in with comments and questions –- and I encourage every American to do so," he said. "Ultimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it's going and how it's spent."

But Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in the weekly Republican address, said Obama's stimulus plan is not timely, targeted or temporary enough to jumpstart the flailing economy.

Murkowski also took aim at the high price tag - namely the amount of spending found in the bill.

Watch: Murkowski airs her concerns

"All this spending adds up, and has to be paid back — paid back by our children and their children. And, as of now, the American people don’t have the facts about the total cost," she said. “As a mother, I can say from experience that it doesn’t make much sense to plan the family vacation before you figure out whether you can afford it. Yet that’s just what Democrats seem to be doing."


Filed under: Congress • President Obama
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. abraxis

    It seems to me that the partisan bickering between the two major parties is losing sight of how mainstream Americans are suffering. On one hand, in the long run, the extra expenditures in the stimulus bill will be paid back by our progenitors (great, great grandchildren), but is the current national debt over ten trillion dollars (10,000,000,000,000)?

    There are many ways to jump start the economy. One way is to put money into the hands of the consumers, build up the infrastructure, and create jobs to increase their confidence. Consumer confidence and job creation and protection are key factors to promote elasticity by providing material fluidity.

    Giving tax breaks to the owners of the rich and owners of the means of production is another way, but is a lower road to recovery. Yet, it has to be done. However, too much money/resources in the hands of a few people WILL NOT promote consumer confidence because they will not create enough jobs or spend enough in the short run to help recover the economy.

    For the republicans who believe that tax breaks are the answer to recover from this economic disaster, let them ask the question "how did we get here in the first place." May be they should be Forrest Gump again where the phrase "stupid is, is stupid does." Yet, that phrase is more appropriate for the electorate because when we don't know, someone else will tell us that they know more than us and drive us straight over the cliff.

    February 14, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. God Help us

    Nobody on here is a economic advisor, quit listening to other people(Rush, fox news) ranting and raving about what is going to happen to this country and come on here and blog like you have a degree in economics. If you knew what to do with the economy you should have ran for president. Nobody knows if this is going to work. Believe this, Obama cannot do no more than what God will allow him to do. So instead of complaining how about using that mouth piece of yours and ask God to deliver us out of this mess. God bless

    February 14, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Sue

    I hope this works, that is a huge amount of our money going out.

    February 14, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. chucky1169469

    I can almost guarentee that everyone of you who are complaining about this.....will gladly accept any money that come to you from it. just remember, if you get a tax return.....alot of that money is a gift to you because you usually get back more than what you put in especially if you have kids.

    February 14, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Phil Newton, in Murphy, Oregon

    The GOP insisted that $70 BILLION - One TENTH of the package - go to tax breaks for the wealthy.

    They don't change.

    Run out the rest of the rats.

    February 14, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. DP

    This bill is insane. How can congress throw in limits on company executives when at the same time they are just as bad. I think we need to start paying Congress with government bonds. Maybe they will start caring about the value of our money. I am sick of the government sticking us, the tax payer, with enormous tabs when we barely have enough money to pay our own bills. I did not support it when GW proposed it and I will not support it with BO. Democrats and Republicans alike need to stand up to Congress and take back our country. We are the ones who should decide what financial path we take. We, the people, are the ones who own the responsibility to take care of our neighbors and communities. Put the power back into local governments and let them decide where the money will be spent. The Federal government was meant to only have the power to provide security and look over federal and foreign affairs. They are going down a road to try to dictate what states and local governments can and cannot do. This is a direct violation of our constitutional rights. Where is the media when the people's rights are being trampled over?

    February 14, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. steve

    There's so much blame to go around. Let's not get into that. As Americans we all have to take responsibility for the mess we are in. Obama is dead right that real change starts from the bottom up. Even the fat cats who are still at least overweight realize that if nothing else spending and saving need to be reevaluated. It can not be business as usual. For starters, the size of the stimulus plan is case in point; it's nothing that's usual! Let's stop decrying it before it even has had a chance to work. And, most importantly, it is going to take time. We have become incredibly used to immediate gratification. And that, in and of itself, has got to be the essence of what needs to be changed. It's not going to be easy.

    February 14, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Mittohead

    I like how big the deficit has grown under repugs and that;s their big cocern now ... wait a minute once bush tax cuts are gone we get that money back, wait a minute once we're out of iraq we get that money back ... arent those checks written on backs of our children you a hole

    February 14, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Obama - NOPE

    Maybe it's not entirely too late. In 2010, new Republicans may arrive in the nick of time, to repeal some of this waste.

    February 14, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Ernie in LA

    JJ, You got that right.

    February 14, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Dumas McGee

    The US now owes more in debt than what the WORLD makes in a year.

    Great job Obama!

    February 14, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. GW BUSH 2001 $1.35 trillion TAX CUT VS. Obama's 2009 STIMULUS - Which is Bigger?

    you tell me?!

    February 14, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Dan J

    The economy will adjust itself irregardless of this bill. But Obama and the Democrats will be credited simply because they took some action (even if it will likely have zero effect). Shrewd move on their parts.

    February 14, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Ron

    Ms. Murkowski: this is not "a vacation." This about people's jobs, about people's lives.

    February 14, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Once you vote Black

    JJ give it a rest! The idea is to stimulate the economy to put Americans, your fellow country men back to work. It has been done in the past and can be done again. The idea is not to take your crumbs and give them to beggars. These are people who worked, lost their jobs, and now need help. These are companies that have thrived, took a hit under Bush management, and now need help. These are not people who want to stay home and watch Ricky Lake and wait for your tax dollars to be mailed to them so they can go by drugs and watermelon. You’re like a boiling frog. You don’t know when conditions have changed. This is why the GOP is going to crumble by 2012. By the way, what ever happend to PUMA?

    February 14, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Big Jim

    To anyone saying Obama is being "misleading" about this is perfectly content to forget that our nation, the United States, in 2003 invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses. I'll take Obama's form of "misleading" over the previous administration – at least it won't cause unnecessary battlefield deaths of our brave troops and kill thousands of innocent civilians.

    February 14, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. kelly WI

    Scammed us and the stupid fools believe it.
    Now we can wait for the tax increses, inflation, lost pensions and jobs, and stagnation.
    Where are the jobs? They are with more gov. beauracrats.
    Next up is cuts in SS and medicare payments and at the same time raise the premiums on it. SS and medicare are broke and they want to add more social programs.
    I sure feel sorry for the working people. But they keep voting the bums in so those that do shouldn't complain.

    February 14, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. DP

    FreeNLovIt...You are more than welcome to pay my taxes. I am tired of the government taking my money so they can spend as they please. I work hard for my money. The government should not have the arbitrary right to impose taxes on it just because they think the unemployed need it. A little economics lesson: The more money I have to spend, the more purchases I can make. This leads to companies needing to hire more people to accomodate the increased business. I guess you do not understand this idea and would rather take my money so you can sit at home and collect a free check and health insurance while I work. Our tax system is so out of control, that the new head of the IRS cannot even figure it out. We need a 10% income tax across the board for workers. If you make $20,000, you pay $2,000. If you make $200,000, you pay $20,000. The top two tax brackets pay 80% of the income taxes in this country.

    February 14, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. rob

    Congratulations! But BOO to the irrelevant Republicans! And lesson learned for Obama and the Dems. No more negotiating with them. Was a waste of time and lost opportunities with the Stimulus package.

    February 14, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Heart of Carolina

    Murkowski is so right about our children and grandchildren and on down having to pay back the money in the stimulus package. Money whilh will most likely not benefit any of them, only government spending. Each year brings it's own expenses nationally and then in 4 years Obama will have added 10 times or more to the national debt plus 4 years in office. I do not understand when people bash Bush for the debt when in just in a matter of a few weeks Obama has added to the existing debt so astronomically that it will never be paid.

    February 14, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Ernie in LA

    The Dems gave Obama the rope to hang himself. When this Package fails, you can not blame the Repubs or George Bush.

    February 14, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Lilly Rose

    Finally, a president who insists on getting things done instead of letter the houses of congress drag a matter out interminably. I would caution that the White House watch each state that gets money to make sure they create jobs and not just pay off old debts. This money should be used to create jobs and nothing else. With widespread employment those debts will be paid off by people who are able to pay taxes. THEN the tax cuts can take place. The Republicans should note that people without jobs don't need tax cuts and we are sick of them thinking only of their rich buddies. There are other people in America that count too. Kudos to President Obama. We've made a great choice and Happy Valentine's Day to the First Family.

    February 14, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Matthew, Detroit

    Presient Clinton 8 years 1.7 trillion in national debt.

    President Bush 8 years 2.5 trillion in national debt.

    Barack First year in office 1.5 trillion added to the national debt.

    4 year estimate for Barack 6 trillion added to the national debt.

    We will never be able to pay back the interest. It is like a bad wife with a high credit card debt. We are screwed.

    February 14, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Al, Los Angeles

    Republicans do not make any attempt to look decent and part with their criminal part. I think democrats should stop pleasing them and break any filibuster if one comes up. Just go ahead with Obama program, go along with leading economists and forget about republicans.

    February 14, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Amanda

    I just thank God that we have a President who cares for his country and puts it first. Where would we be with McCain and Palin ? They would have done nothing except cutting taxes on their ultra rich friends !

    February 14, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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