Obama Poised To Sign Stimulus Into Law

By: By LIZ SIDOTI
By: By LIZ SIDOTI

DENVER (AP) - President Barack Obama isn't ruling out a second
economic stimulus plan, a top aide said Tuesday, even as Obama flew
to Denver to sign into law a $787 billion rescue plan designed to
spur consumer spending and create millions of jobs.
With the economy still in a tailspin, Obama chose the Rocky
Mountain state to celebrate the biggest victory of his
administration, which isn't yet a month old. The legislation is the
most sweeping economic overhaul plan put forth in decades.
The setting was the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It was
chosen to underscore the investments the new law will make in
"green" energy-related jobs.
Ahead of Obama's arrival in Colorado, the White House went live
with a Web site, www.recovery.gov, that will allow people to track
where the money is being spent. The White House press office also
promoted the projected job growth for each state and congressional
district.
Aboard Air Force One en route here, presidential spokesman
Robert Gibbs told reporters the White House was open-minded about
another similar effort. But he stressed that there are no plans
currently in the works for one.
The failing economy continues to dominate Obama's time.
Tuesday is when General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which are
living off a combined $13.4 billion in federal bailout loans, are
due to hand in plans to the government about how they can remain
viable.
And on Wednesday in Arizona, Obama will unveil another part of
his economic recovery effort - a plan to help millions of
homeowners fend off foreclosure.
But first comes the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, which
tries to address the nation's economic free fall on multiple
fronts.
It pumps money into infrastructure projects, health care,
renewable energy development and conservation, with twin goals of
short-term job production and longer-term economic viability.
There's a $400 tax break for most individual workers and $800
for couples, including those who do not earn enough to pay income
taxes. It dishes out tens of billions of dollars to states so they
can head off deep cuts and layoffs. It provides financial
incentives for people to start buying again, from first homes to
new cars.
And it provides help to poor people and laid-off workers, with
increased unemployment benefits and food stamps, and subsides for
health insurance.
What the legislation is not expected to do is change the
nation's economic fortunes quickly. So part of the White House's
goal has been managing expectations.
Gibbs had said over the long holiday weekend that "things have
not yet bottomed out. They are probably going to get worse before
they improve. But this is a big step forward toward making that
improvement and putting people back to work."
The unemployment rate is now at 7.6 percent, the highest in more
than 16 years. Analysts warn the economy will remain feeble through
2009.
Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, largely balked at the economic
package. It drew no GOP votes in the House and only three in the
Senate, albeit vital ones. Many Republicans said it was short on
cutting taxes and the spending measures didn't target the vast sums
of money well enough toward short-term job creation, which was the
major goal of the bill.
But with the economy shedding jobs, there was widespread
consensus in Washington for some sort of stimulus, and fast.
Yet the government's action comes at a cost down the line.
Many private economists are forecasting that the budget deficit
for the current year will hit $1.6 trillion, including the stimulus
spending. That's about three times last year's shortfall, and such
year-to-year deficits contribute toward a mounting national debt.
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Associated Press writer Ben Feller contributed to this report.


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