U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday the biggest economic stimulus plan in the nation's history. The almost $800 billion in government spending and tax cuts is designed to get America's economy back on track.
Less than a month after taking office, President Obama signed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act - the cornerstone of his effort to reverse the U.S economic recession.
"I do not want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems nor does it constitute all of what we are going to have to do to turn our economy around," said President Obama. "But today does mark the beginning of the end."
Mr. Obama took the unusual step of holding the bill-signing ceremony outside of Washington, in the Western city of Denver, Colorado. Denver hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention, at which Mr. Obama received his party's presidential nomination. The majority of Colorado voters supported Mr. Obama in the November election, after several elections in which Republicans won the state.
Colorado also has a reputation for supporting businesses that produce and support so-called "clean energy".
Before President Obama signed the legislation, Blake Jones, the president of the Colorado-based Namaste Solar company, which makes solar energy equipment, said the stimulus plan will help his company and many others.
"Our trade association - the Solar Energy Industries Association - estimates that as a direct result of this stimulus bill, U.S. solar companies will create 69,000 good-paying jobs this year, and almost double that number over the next two years," said Blake Jones.
Overall, the Obama administration says the plan will create or save millions of jobs, cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans and inject new money into efforts to reform education, health care, and rebuild infrastructure.
"Now what makes this recovery plan so important is not just that it will create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, including 60,000-plus here in Colorado," said Mr. Obama. "It is that we are putting Americans to work, doing the work that America needs done."
The economic stimulus plan passed both houses of Congress, with all majority Democrats supporting the measure and nearly all Republicans voting against it. Many minority-party lawmakers warn the plan is too costly and wasteful, and will not work.
On Wednesday, Mr. Obama will visit the Southwestern state of Arizona to introduce a program to help millions of homeowners avoid mortgage foreclosures. Many economists point out that the U.S. financial crisis began with bad loans in the home mortgage industry.