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In yesterday’s speech at George Mason University, President-elect Barack Obama went into specifics about how he plans to boost America’s flailing economy and create jobs. If Obama gets his way, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will push forward a host of green actions.
From a transcript of Obama’s speech:
"To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of 2 million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.
In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced, jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain."
Other green initiatives outlined in the speech include building a smart grid capable of delivering clean energy throughout the nation and investing more money in science, research, and technology.
While the plan is sure to please enviros, some politicians—even Democrats—have criticized the package’s massive bill: The latest price tag reaches $800 billion, on top the $1.3 trillion of national debt America already has, so getting the plan passed early may pose problematic for the incoming administration.
Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is adamant about formulating a stimulus package as early as possible.
From today’s New York Times:
"Despite reservations with parts of Mr. Obama’s stimulus plan, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to keep Congress in session through the Presidents Day recess in mid-February if it failed to act by then. 'It is long overdue,' the Web site Politico quoted Ms. Pelosi as saying shortly before Mr. Obama delivered his address. 'We’ve been asking for this recovery package for one year. We’ve been working on this for a long time.'”
Democrats hoped a stimulus package could be approved by the time Obama takes office on the 20th, but due to opposition, legislators say it’s unlike anything will happen before the middle of February.
With the national unemployment rate expected to reach nine percent by the end of this year and the planet’s continued decline due to the effects of global warming and pollution, let’s hope lawmakers can put their partisanship aside and agree on a plan ASAP.
This article originally appeared in "Plenty" in January 2009.