Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama sent a weekend letter to congressional leaders seeking approval for previously proposed spending measures intended to protect the nation's economic recovery, but initial response Sunday was mixed.
The Saturday letter to the leaders of the House and Senate asked for the Senate to approve an $80 billion measure offering extended jobless benefits as well as tax breaks and better access to credit for small businesses. In the letter, Obama also sought congressional support for proposals totaling about $50 billion to help state and local governments avoid layoffs and service reductions.
Obama's letter also noted that his administration was holding down some annual spending and had created a bipartisan commission intended to devise a deficit reduction strategy.
"Ultimately, reining in our deficit will take major steps, including the effective implementation of health reform and laying the conditions for the success of the bipartisan fiscal commission," Obama's letter said. "Only through this approach of aggressive and well-designed targeted and temporary actions, alongside measures to ensure a sustainable and responsible long-term budget outlook, will we be able to fulfill our economic potential."
David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, said Sunday that Obama's letter was intended to "underscore the urgency" of continuing to support economic recovery.