By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent David Espo, Ap Special Correspondent 1 hr 42 mins ago
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that failure to act on an economic recovery package could plunge the nation into a long-lasting recession that might prove irreversible, a fresh call to a recalcitrant Congress to move quickly.
In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, the president argued that each day without his stimulus package, Americans lose more jobs, savings and homes. His message came as congressional leaders struggle to control the huge stimulus bill that's been growing larger by the day in the Senate. The addition of a new tax break for homebuyers Wednesday evening sent the price tag well past $900 billion.
Senate Democratic leaders hope for passage of the legislation by Friday at the latest, although prospects appear to hinge on crafting a series of spending reductions that would make the bill more palatable to centrists in both parties.
Obama painted a bleak picture if lawmakers do nothing.
"This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse," Obama wrote in the newspaper piece titled, "The Action Americans Need."
He rejected the argument that more tax cuts are needed in the plan and that piecemeal measures would be sufficient, arguing that Americans made their intentions clear in the election.
"I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change," he wrote.