The First Draft, Thursday, Jan 8
President-elect Barack Obama will use a speech on the economy Thursday to try to build support for a massive stimulus bill aimed at lifting the United States out of a deep recession.
Obama is warning Congress that unless it acts quickly and boldly to pass his stimulus plan, with its estimated $775 billion price tag, the country could be mired for years in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The president-elect delivers his remarks at 11 a.m. at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, with less than two weeks to go before his inauguration.
The speech comes as some lawmakers and financial experts are beginning to raise doubts about elements of the stimulus plan.
The Washington Post quoted lawmakers, tax experts and economists as saying some of the tax cuts in the Obama plan are likely to be too expensive and ineffective.
Obama’s choice to lead the administration’s charge on health care reform goes before a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is expected to receive a cordial welcome from his ex-colleagues and Democratic leaders on the panel predict a smooth confirmation.
President George W. Bush travels to Philadelphia Thursday for an event touting the success of his No Child Left Behind education reform program.
The House of Representatives and the Senate hold a joint session to formally count the electoral votes from the November election, in which Obama defeated Republican rival John McCain.
The action will formally declare Obama as winner of the U.S. presidential vote.
The morning television news shows reported on Obama’s economic speech and new violence in the Middle East, where rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel.
The attacks raised concerns about a possible second front in Israel’s two-week war against Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip.
U.S. stock futures dropped early Thursday on disappionting December sales by Wal-Mart, pointing to a lower open on Wall Street.
For more Reuters political news, click here.
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama listens as Bush speaks during an Oval Office meeting Wednesday with all the living former presidents)