Obama hits out at Republican critics | Shanghai Daily

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Obama hits out at Republican critics

PRESIDENT Barack Obama fought back against Republicans yesterday, charging that critics of his nearly US$1 trillion plan to stimulate the collapsing United States economy were promoting failed theories and ignoring the depth of the crisis.

In an impassioned opinion piece in the Washington Post, Obama demanded that Congress act swiftly to provide the massive infusion of federal spending ?? pressing his case on an emergency package for which he has struggled to win bipartisan backing.

Despite strong support in the polls and a convincing White House victory, the president has hit unexpectedly heavy political headwinds in his first month in office, one that has seen key nominees withdraw under a cloud of tax troubles and a deepening economic downturn.

Obama's nearly unprecedented courting of Republicans in Congress to match his campaign promises of bipartishanship failed to gain one opposition vote in the House of Representatives when it passed an US$819 billion version of the measure last week.

Senate Republicans and some Democrats are proving equally balky in debate on their version of the plan, which has climbed to above US$900 billion but still not come to a vote.

"What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives ?? action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis," Obama wrote.

Republicans charge the stimulus plan is loaded down with pet Democratic spending and ignores the curative powers of tax cuts.

Obama hotly disagreed, saying Republicans were promoting a failed theory, "the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive."

Even Obama's attendance at yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, was tinged with politics, since he was to return to the executive mansion to sign an executive order forming the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

During his presidential campaign, Obama said he wanted to expand White House faith-based efforts begun in the Bush administration.

While he endorsed Bush's initiative to give religious groups more access to federal funding, he also promised to make some changes to the office.

Obama will ask for a legal review of whether to allow such groups to hire only co-religionists.

Ending a two-year effort by Democrats, Obama signed legislation on Wednesday that will allow about 7 million children to continue coverage through the State Children's Health Insurance Program and allow an additional 4 million to sign up.





 

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