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President pushes economic stimulus package

  • Story Highlights
  • New Web site,, will show how money is spent, Obama says
  • GOP rebuttal criticizes Democratic plan's priorities
  • Obama uses weekly address to press for passage of plan
  • Package includes new electric lines, more funding for college students
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By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama painted a bleak economic picture of the country Saturday, hours before he met with his economic team.

President Obama delivers his weekly radio and Internet address, which focused on the economy.

President Obama delivers his weekly radio and Internet address, which focused on the economy.

"We begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action," he said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last 26 years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits," Obama said.

The president pleaded for urgent action, saying, "If we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse." Video Watch Obama's weekly address »

Obama's remarks came as he is lobbying for quick congressional passage of an $825 billion stimulus package to pump up the economy. Video Watch the partisan politics involved »

The president revealed more details of his stimulus package, which he said would add more than 3,000 miles of electric lines to transport alternative energy across the country.

Obama also said the plan would save taxpayers $2 billion by making three-quarters of federal buildings more energy efficient and would "save the average working family $350 on their energy bills by weatherizing 2.5 million homes."

The White House also released a report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which calls for greater investment in Pell Grants for college students, a $2,500 college tax credit for 4 million college students and the tripling of the number of fellowships in science to help spur innovation.

Obama promised full accountability for government spending. After a stimulus bill is passed, a Web site,, will show taxpayers how their money is being spent, he said.

In the Republicans' response, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers criticized the Democratic plan. Watch the GOP radio address

"The $800 billion plan largely ignores the fact that we cannot keep borrowing and spending our way back to prosperity," said McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington.

"Instead of letting American families keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars, this plan proposes to spend additional money -- billions -- on such programs as new government cars, global warming studies and a billion extra dollars for the U.S. Census."


Balancing the budget and enacting tax cuts "are central to moving our economy forward," she said. Video Watch what Republicans want »

The president is calling for the plan, which he hopes will create up to 4 million jobs over the next two years, to be passed by Congress and at his desk for signing by February 16, which is Presidents Day.

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