This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
American lawmakers agreed this week on
an economic recovery plan. Negotiators got it below seven hundred ninety
billion dollars. They cut tens of billions from versions in the Senate and the
House of Representatives. The compromise measure needed final passage in
Congress for President Barack Obama to get his wish to have it by Monday to
sign into law.
About thirty-five percent of the rescue
plan is tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Sixty-five percent is government
spending. That includes more than fifty billion dollars in aid to states. And
it includes money for roads and bridge projects as well as investments in
health care, education and energy. The plan also calls for expanded aid for
people without jobs or health insurance.
The economic recovery plan is the
largest since President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great
Depression in the nineteen thirties.
Republicans continued to criticize
Democrats for not including more tax cuts. They say the plan contains wasteful
spending that will do little to create jobs and will leave mountains of debt
for future generations.
The Senate passed its version this week
with just three Republican votes. There was no Republican support in the House,
even for the final bill approved Friday.
On Thursday, President
Obama said his plan will save or create more than three and a half million jobs
over the next two years. To what extent that goal will be met is not clear. But
that is the number of jobs lost since the recession began in December of two
thousand seven. Unemployment has reached seven and six-tenths percent, the
highest rate since nineteen ninety-two.
The president spoke in Illinois to workers
at Caterpillar. The maker of earth moving equipment recently announced twenty-two
thousand job cuts.
The president told the workers that the
head of the company said the stimulus plan could save some of those jobs. Chief
executive Jim Owens later told reporters, however, that even more jobs may go.
Obama returned to his home state of Illinois to celebrate the two hundredth
birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. But while he was away from Washington, his
nominee for secretary of commerce announced that he was withdrawing.
The president nominated Judd Gregg, a
senator from New Hampshire, last week to be the third Republican in his
cabinet. But Senator Gregg said he had differences with the Democratic
administration on policy issues including the stimulus plan.
earlier choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, withdrew
because of a legal investigation. Two other Obama nominees withdrew over tax
House press secretary Robert Gibbs said it became clear that Senator Gregg was
not going to support some of the president's economic aims. He said the senator
offered his name for the job and "We regret that he has had a change of
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special
English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.