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President Obama Signs the Economic Stimulus into Law (ARRA) Part 1 of 3

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Published on Feb 22, 2009

President Obama Signs the Economic Stimulus into Law (ARRA)

Denver, Colorado February 17, 2009

Text of Part 1:

It is great to be back in Denver. (Applause.) I was here last summer -- we had a good time -- (laughter) -- to accept the nomination of my party and to make a promise to people of all parties that I would do all that I could to give every American the chance to make of their lives what they will; to see their children climb higher than they did. And I'm back today to say that we have begun the difficult work of keeping that promise. We have begun the essential work of keeping the American Dream alive in our time. And that's why we're here today. (Applause.)

Now, I don't want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems. Nor does it constitute all of what we're going to have to do to turn our economy around. But today does mark the beginning of the end -- the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs; the beginning of what we need to do to provide relief for families worried they won't be able to pay next month's bills; the beginning of the first steps to set our economy on a firmer foundation, paving the way to long-term growth and prosperity.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that I will sign today -- a plan that meets the principles I laid out in January -- is the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history. It's the product of broad consultation and the recipient of broad support -- from business leaders, unions, public interest groups, from the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, as well as the AFL-CIO. (Applause.) From Democrats and Republicans, mayors as well as governors. It's a rare thing in Washington for people with such diverse and different viewpoints to come together and support the same bill. And on behalf of our nation, I want to thank all of them for it, including your two outstanding Senators, Michael Bennett and Mark Udall, as well as all the members of your congressional delegation. They did an outstanding job and they deserve a big round of applause. (Applause.)

I also want to thank Joe Biden for working behind the scenes from the very start to make this recovery act possible. I want to thank Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid for acting so quickly and for proving that Congress could step up to this challenge.

I have special thanks to Max Baucus, who's the Chairman of the Finance Committee. Without Max, none of this would have happened. He had to work overtime, and push his committee to work overtime. And I want to thank all the committee chairs and members of Congress for coming up with a plan that is both bold and balanced enough to meet the demands of this moment. The American people were looking to them for leadership, and that's what they provided.

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. It's that we're putting Americans to work doing the work that America needs done - (applause) -- in critical areas that have been neglected for too long; work that will bring real and lasting change for generations to come.

Because we know we can't build our economic future on the transportation and information networks of the past, we are remaking the American landscape with the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower built an Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. (Applause.) Because of this investment, nearly 400,000 men and women will go to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, repairing our faulty dams and levees, bringing critical broadband connections to businesses and homes in nearly every community in America, upgrading mass transit, building high-speed rail lines that will improve travel and commerce throughout our nation.

Because we know America can't out-compete the world tomorrow if our children are being out-educated today, we're making the largest investment in education in our nation's history. (Applause.) It's an investment that will create jobs building 21st century classrooms and libraries and labs for millions of children across America. It will provide funds to train a new generation of math and science teachers, while giving aid to states and school districts to stop teachers from being laid off and education programs from being cut.

In a place like New York City, 14,000 teachers who were set to be let go may now be able to continue pursuing their critical mission. It's an investment that will create a new $2,500 annual tax credit to put the dream of a college degree within reach for middle-class families and make college affordable for 7 million students -- (applause) -- helping more of our sons and daughters aim higher, reach further, fulfill their God-given potential. (Applause.)

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