Obama begins to set economic course
Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 8:56 am
By BETH FOUHY
Associated Press Writers
CHICAGO (AP) — Eager to calm economic anxieties, President-elect Barack Obama is rolling out an economic vision that will require congressional cooperation even before he settles into his new desk in the White House’s Oval Office.
Obama was to introduce his new economic leadership team today, a key step toward enacting a huge new economic recovery plan that aims to save or create 2.5 million jobs over the next two years.
The plan is likely to far exceed the $175 billion Obama proposed during the campaign. It would include an infusion of money for infrastructure projects, new environmental technologies and tax cuts for low- and middle-income taxpayers. It will not call for tax hikes for the wealthy.
Obama aides on Sunday called on the new Congress to pass by the Jan. 20 inauguration legislation that meets Obama’s two-year goal of saving or creating 2.5 million jobs. Democratic congressional leaders said they would get to work when Congress convenes Jan. 6 with bigger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
With the wounded economy worsening, the Obama team’s new assertiveness was a recognition he needed to soothe financial markets with signs of leadership. It also foreshadowed a more hands-on role by Obama to influence congressional action during the final weeks of the transition.
Heading his economic team will be Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers as head of the National Economic Council. Obama also has settled on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his commerce secretary.
“We don’t have time to waste here, “ Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said. “We want to hit the ground running on January 20.”
Echoing that, the second-ranking House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said, “We expect to have during the first couple of weeks of January a package for the president’s consideration when he takes office.”
While Obama and his team are focused on the work of the new Congress, they also weighed in work pending before the current one.