By Ria Novosti
U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled a $447 billion package of spending initiatives and tax cuts intended to revive the country’s stalled economy and increase hiring.
“I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away,” Obama told a joint session of Congress late on Thursday. “There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for.”
Dubbed the “American Jobs Act,” Obama’s plan is comparable to his $787 billion economic stimulus plan passed in February 2009. The package includes tax cuts for employers and employees, spending on schools and roads and assistance for the jobless.
The United States’ high unemployment rate, currently standing at 9.1%, is expected to dominate the 2012 presidential campaign, and some analysts say Obama’s ambitious proposal is part of his re-election plans.
Obama’s is seeking $65 billion to encourage small businesses to hire more workers, a senior administration official told journalists. The plan also proposes $85 billion in aid to state and local governments, including spending on school reconstruction projects, as well as $10 billion for infrastructure and $50 billion for transportation projects.
Obama called on the Democrat and Republican lawmakers to “stop the political circus” in the face of an “ongoing national crisis,” and join forces to jump-start the U.S. economy.
The president is planning to submit the bill to Congress next week.