This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
week, Democrats in Congress gave Barack Obama an important victory a week into
his presidency. The House of Representatives approved his economic recovery
plan. But not one Republican voted for it. Eleven Democrats also opposed the
The price: eight hundred
nineteen billion dollars. About one-third is tax cuts for individuals and
businesses and two-thirds is government spending.
Republicans said the plan contained too
much wasteful spending and too few tax cuts. They say tax cuts are a faster way
to fight the recession.
They pointed to a report this week from
the Congressional Budget Office. It estimated that about sixty-five percent of
the proposed spending would be injected into the economy over nineteen months. The
administration's estimate is seventy-five percent.
Senate will debate the measure next week. Its version adds more tax cuts. Mister
Obama has asked Congress for a final bill by the middle of February.
He says his plan will save or create
more than three million jobs over the next few years, and serve the economy for
years to come. It offers money for traditional projects like rebuilding roads. It
would also invest in areas like education, renewable energy and computerizing
Texas Republican in the House, John Culberson, said liberals aim to increase
government power. He said the legislation contains proposals to expand federal
programs unrelated to stimulating the economy.
cuts are spreading throughout the economy as the year-long recession deepens.
brought news that the economy shrank three and eight-tenths percent in the
final three months of last year. That was the most since nineteen eighty-two. But
the good news: economists had predicted worse.
Mister Obama said the
"continuing disaster" for working families was more reason for his
PRESIDENT OBAMA: "I'm
pleased that the House has acted with the urgency necessary in passing this plan.
I hope we can strengthen it further in the Senate. What we can't do is drag our
feet or delay much longer."
spoke before signing an order to create the Task Force on Middle-Class Working
Families. Top government officials, led by Vice President Joe Biden, will work
on policies to help the middle class. They will seek ideas through a Web site, astrongmiddleclass.gov.
Earlier, the president noted a
report which showed that Wall Street bankers got more than eighteen billion
dollars in bonuses last year. He called it "the height of irresponsibility"
at a time when they were asking taxpayers for help.
Federal Reserve suggested again that short-term interest rates are
likely to remain near zero for some time. Central bank policymakers said they
expect a slow recovery in economic activity to begin later this year. But they warned
of the risk of deflation.
in Davos, Switzerland, political and business leaders at the World Economic
Forum warned against protectionism. The downturn could lead to trade wars if countries
raise barriers to foreign competition.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve