US president Barack Obama has praised lawmakers for reaching agreement on an economic stimulus package due to go before the Senate on Monday.
However, he has warned quick action is needed to avoid economic catastrophe as unemployment figures hit a 16-year high. Critics fear compromise which saw the planned 700-billion euro package cut down to 600 billion could means jobs might not created right away. “Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands,” Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday. “In the midst of our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people were hoping that Congress would begin to confront the great challenges we face. That was, after all, what last November’s election was all about.” A large number of Republican senators, led by former presidential candidate John McCain, oppose the plan, accusing it of contaning millions of dollars of unnecessary spending. The bill is only expected to garner support from a handful of the Senate’s minority Republicans. The president said the legislation deserved scrutiny but added that speed trumped perfection.