Good morning. Today I want to give you a progress report on our plans to get the country moving again. With the support of so many Americans, including many of you listening today, we won an important victory on Capitol Hill this week. The House of Representatives approved the economic package and with it an immediate crucial investment program to create jobs that will be like a booster rocket for our economy.
It was a week that reaffirmed why I came to Washington: to deliver the kind of change you demanded when you cast your ballots last November. It's significant, I think, that I can bring you this news on the first day of spring. It may be gloomy or even cold where you are right now, but the signs of the season are unmistakable. In Washington the snow is melting, trees are budding, and outside the window of the Oval Office birds are announcing their return. And there's something else in the air. Exactly 2 months ago at my Inauguration as your President, I said that together we could force a season of growth and renewal. I'm happy to tell you today that we're on our way to that kind of spring, too.
We thank all the Congressmen and Congresswomen who carried the day for all of us. But mostly the credit goes to you, the American people, because after all, you issued the challenge and demanded the change. Your message was loud and clear. You said no more status quo. And that message must continue to ring in the ears of all our lawmakers. It should drown out the drone of special interests who would decimate the plan bit by bit until we're back to where we began.
I know you don't want that. You didn't vote for half measures or excuses or business as usual. Because you demanded change, we've begun to turn our back on the long winter of trickle-down economics, moving toward investing in people and their jobs and education and health care and in the future. The price of doing nothing is too high. You've already seen what more than a decade of neglect can do. We're losing our competitive edge in the world. At home, our highways and mass transit systems were falling into disrepair; cities deteriorating; rural areas suffering; and most important, families, especially middle income families, were feeling enormous strains.
On all these fronts there is ground to be regained and advances to be made. Every part of our program is aimed at making lives better across the Nation. And it does it with investments paid for dollar by dollar by cuts in spending.
With our plan, we'll build up our job base. Small businesses, the source of more than half the jobs held by Americans, will get the help with freer access to credit, with investment tax credits and urban enterprise zones and special capital gains for new enterprises. At the same time, we'll invest more in research and development for new technologies and to convert defense technology. And that will help us stay competitive globally. With our investment in lifelong learning, we'll give Americans the tools they need to stay sharp in the changing job market.
Our plan takes care of our children, too. We want to immunize every child against infectious diseases, to get them off on the right foot with Head Start, to help mothers and infants to get the nutrition they need. It's the smart thing to do and the right investment to make. Every dollar we invest today will give us back many more dollars tomorrow. Just yesterday I saw what investments in children can bring. I was in Atlanta where parents, teachers, and business leaders have joined forces to create a Downtown Child Development Center. In every direction I looked, I saw small faces with big smiles. It's a nurturing environment that produces happy kids, productive parents, and satisfied employers. In many ways, it's a microcosm of what we want for America.
Our economic recovery package may be the boldest economic plan that Congress has ever seen. In addition to the investments, the plan passed by the House will reduce the Federal deficit by $510 billion in the next 5 years. If we can make these changes, our children will live better, more prosperous lives.
Make no mistake about it, this is a bold plan, because we need bold change. You know it; that's what you asked for. The American people are, by their very nature, people of action. It's been very frustrating to have more than a decade of policies that run up the deficit and ran down morale and investment. And it's been more frustrating still to see Government in gridlock where nothing profoundly important ever happens.
Our plan to cut spending and increase investment in the future of our country is now being considered in the United States Senate. In Washington, your voices are being heard, so I urge you to raise them. We need to enlist the Senators now in our cause to break gridlock and get the economy moving. Please encourage your Senators to support the economic plan, to create jobs and boost incomes and reduce our national debt.
The sooner our plan becomes a reality, the sooner we'll be shifting the gears of our economy out of neutral and into drive. You're in the driver's seat now. I urge you, make sure your foot's off the brake, step on the accelerator, and help move this country forward. Thanks for listening.