FAIRFAX, Virginia, January 8, 2009 (ENS) - President-elect Barack Obama today pledged to quickly implement a plan that will save or create three million jobs by doubling the production of alternative energy; weatherizing 75 percent of federal buildings and two million American homes; and investing in new infrastructure, science, research, and technology.
In a speech at George Mason University, Obama said the multi-billion dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan he will advance immediately after he takes office on January 20, represents "not just new policy, but a whole new approach to meeting our most urgent challenges."
President-elect Barack Obama at George Mason University. (Photo Obama Transition Project)
"That's why I'm asking Congress to work with me and my team day and night, on weekends if necessary, to get the plan passed in the next few weeks," he said.
"To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years," Obama said. "We will modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two 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," said Obama, "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."
The new Democrat-controlled Congress opened on Tuesday, with indications that Obama's plan will receive support.
At a forum Wednesday held by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, said that Congress will move quickly to implement the plan.
Said Pelosi, "We will be working in the days ahead with our President-elect so we have legislation before we observe President's Day this year." The holiday falls on February 16, 2009.
Senator Harry Reid (Photo courtesy Office of the Senator)
At a news conference Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada detailed the top 10 priorities for the new Congress, beginning with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help improve the economy.
"This Congress, Democrats have one explicit goal: to deliver the change Americans have demanded," Reid said. "We are confronting some of the most severe problems we have faced in generations. They didn't happen overnight and they won't be solved in a day, but by working together in a bipartisan fashion, Democrats know we can move our country forward."
Bipartisanship is an integral feature of the plan, Obama said today. Pledging transparency in decisionmaking, he said, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan won't just throw money at our problems - we'll invest in what works. The true test of the policies we'll pursue won't be whether they're Democratic or Republican ideas, but whether they create jobs, grow our economy, and put the American Dream within reach of the American people.
Many environmentalists support Obama's plan.
Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said, "America is facing profound and deeply intertwined energy and economic crises. President-elect Obama's speech today indicates he understands the tremendous scope and interrelated nature of these challenges - and that he is committed to leading the bold, transformative changes that will be needed to solve them."
"With his leadership," said Blackwelder, "we can create millions of green jobs "and revitalize our economy, while building a clean and efficient 21st Century infrastructure."
A crumbling bridge on the I-95 in northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo credit unknown)
Friends of the Earth is running a "New Roads = New Pollution" campaign to encourage smart transportation investments in the stimulus package and to block funding for new roads. Instead, the group wants Obama to direct funding towards improving and expanding clean transportation options, including public transit and passenger rail, as well as on maintaining and repairing the roads and bridges that already exist.
"Dollar for dollar," said Blackwelder, "investments in public transportation and road and bridge repair create more jobs than new road construction and lead to cleaner air and less pollution."
The advocacy organization Environmental Defense today issued a transportation policy statement that urges the Obama administration and Congress to focus on "getting more value from existing infrastructure" to improve transportation, put Americans to work now, save money in the long run and reduce health-threatening air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Policymakers should, "Increase support for transit in cities of all sizes and in all regions of the count
Answered By: skyynkeywest - 1/9/2009