Obama Prepares to Sign Stimulus Bill, Propose Housing Plan 
By Paula Wolfson
Washington
15 February 2009

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U.S. President Barack Obama keeps the focus squarely on the troubled American economy this week as he signs a massive stimulus package into law, and announces steps to help the housing market.

The almost $790-billion stimulus bill is the biggest economic package ever passed by Congress.

The president's top White House advisor, David Axelrod, says its size befits the problem. He predicts the stimulus package will have an impact quickly. But he warns it will be difficult to undue all the economic damage that has already been done.

As you know, the package will help fund infrastructure programs and other programs that are ready to go around the country, he said. But it is going to take time for that to show up in the statistics.

Speaking on the Fox News Sunday television program, Axelrod said it is necessary to act aggressively to keep the situation from getting much worse.

We are in the worst recession since World War II, he added. And it took us a long time to get into this mess. It is going to take us a while to get out of it.

The president is going outside Washington to sign the stimulus bill into law.

Instead of a ceremony at the White House attended by politicians and dignitaries, Mr. Obama will put pen to paper on Tuesday in Denver, Colorado - the same city where he accepted the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in August.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the choice of Denver shows how important it is for the president to hear from people outside the nation's capital.

He wants to get out of Washington and show people all across America the benefits of what is inside this economic recovery and reinvestment plan, said Gibbs.

Gibbs told the CBS program Face the Nation that the president will travel from Denver to Phoenix, Arizona where he will unveil his proposal to deal with the home mortgage foreclosure crisis.

It is the mess in the housing market that is widely regarded as the trigger behind the current economic recession. Banks put up millions of dollars in risky mortgage loans to home buyers who later found they could not keep up with the payments. Families lost their homes, and banks tightened credit, making it more difficult for others to borrow money.

Gibbs said the president will continue to reach out to Republicans as the administration puts together the details of the housing proposal. This, despite the fact the stimulus package got no Republican votes in the House of Representatives and only three in the Senate.

He is going to continue to reach out to Republicans and he is hopeful Republicans will start to reach back, said Gibbs.

But Republicans are still angry over the stimulus package, which they say was rammed through Congress by the White House and the Democratic majority in the legislature.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told ABC's This Week the stimulus bill failed the bipartisanship test.

There is nothing about this process that has been bipartisan. This is not change you can believe in, said Graham.

But Graham said he still hopes the two sides can come together when the president's housing proposal hits Capitol Hill.

奥巴马总统准备签署经济刺激法案

美国总统奥巴马把本周的工作重点继续坚定不移地放在陷入困境的经济上。奥巴马本周将把大规模经济刺激计划签署成为法律,并宣布采取措施救助房贷市场。

高达将近7900亿美元的经济刺激计划是国会有史以来批准的最大数额的经济计划。

*采取行动必要*

奥巴马总统的白宫高级顾问戴维.阿克塞尔罗德说,这么大的数额是与需要解决的问题相称的。他预计,经济刺激计划将很快产生影响。但是他同时警告说,要想解决所有已经存在的经济问题还是很困难。

“你们知道,这个计划将帮助为基础设施项目以及其他全国性项目提供资金,但是要在数据上看到效果还需要时间。”

阿克塞尔罗德在接受福克斯星期天新闻采访时说,采取积极行动是必要的,这样才能避免局势进一步恶化。

“我们现在遭遇的是二战以来最严重的衰退。我们也是一天一天才走到今天这么糟糕的地步,所以,要想走出这个泥潭也不能一蹴而就。”

*在丹佛签署*

奥巴马不打算在华盛顿把经济刺激计划签署成为法律。他不会在白宫举行由政界名流参加的签字仪式,相反,星期二,他将在科罗拉多的丹佛市完成议案的签署过程。去年8月,奥巴马正是在丹佛接受民主党全国大会的提名成为总统候选人的。

总统的新闻秘书吉布斯说,选择丹佛作为把经济刺激计划签署成为法律的地方显示,了解首都之外的民情对总统的重要性。

“他希望离开华盛顿,向全美国民众展示这项经济复苏和再投资计划的内容。”

*将宣布房市救助计划*

吉布斯在接受哥伦比亚广播公司《面对全国》节目采访时说,总统将从丹佛到亚利桑那的凤凰城,在那里,他将宣布有关处理丧失抵押赎回权房屋危机的计划。

混乱的房贷市场被广泛认为是引发目前经济衰退的主要原因。银行把数百万美元的风险房贷款发放给购房者,而这些人后来却发现他们根本就没有能力支付房贷。很多家庭失去了住房,银行紧缩信贷,导致其他人贷款变得很困难。

吉布斯说,总统在公布救助房市计划的细节时,将继续听取共和党人的意见,虽然经济刺激计划在众议院投票时没有得到任何共和党人的支持,在参议院也只获得三名共和党人的投票。

吉布斯说,“他将继续与共和党人协商。他希望共和党人会有所回应。”

*共和党人:未通过跨党派合作测试*

但是共和党人对经济刺激计划依然忿忿不平。他们说,这是白宫和国会多数党民主党强行通过的。来自南卡罗莱纳州的参议员林塞.格雷厄姆在接受美国广播公司采访时说,经济刺激计划并没有通过跨党派合作的测试。

“整个进程一点也没有体现跨党派合作的精神。这不是我们应该相信的变革所在。”

但是,格雷厄姆说,他希望希望总统救助房市的计划在国会进行讨论时,两党可以一起合作。