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Remarks Following a Meeting on Economic Stabilization Legislation and an Exchange With Reporters

February 02, 2009

The President. Well, I want to thank Governor Douglas for being here. We met early on during the transition period with all of the Governors from across the country, and with very few exceptions, I heard from Republicans and Democrats the need for action--and swift action--and that's what we've been trying to do in moving this package forward.

And nobody understands this better than Governors and mayors and county officials who are seeing the devastating effects on the ground of this contraction in the economy. People are being laid off, and that means that Governors like Jim are having to not only deal with declining revenue, but increased social services to provide support for people who are unemployed as they're seeking work.

And the recovery package that we are moving forward is designed to provide States relief, to make sure that people who are laid off from their jobs are still able to get unemployment insurance, are still able to get health care, and that we are putting in place the infrastructure of rebuilding roads, bridges, waterways, other projects at the State levels that allow us to put people back to work. And we want to create or save 3 million jobs, and we want to put the investments in place that are going to ensure long-term economic growth.

So as Jim indicated, there are still some differences between Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, between the White House and some of the products that's been discussed on the Hill. But what we can't do is let very modest differences get in the way of the overall package moving forward swiftly.

And so I'm very gratified that Governor Douglas, along with many Governors from across the country, are going to be weighing in, in these critical next few days. And we hope to be able to get a bill to you in the next couple of weeks so we can put America back to work and start digging ourselves out of this deep hole that we're in.

So thank you so much for taking the time to be here.

Governor James H. Douglas of Vermont. Well, thank you, Mr. President.

The President. All right. Good. Thank you, guys.

Health and Human Services Secretary-Designate Thomas A. Daschle

Q. Mr. President, do you stand behind Tom Daschle? Do you still stand behind Tom Daschle?

The President. Thank you. Absolutely. Thank you, guys.

Note: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Gov. Douglas.

Barack Obama, Remarks Following a Meeting on Economic Stabilization Legislation and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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