President Barack Obama has recalled Abraham Lincoln’s conviction that a divided nation could be made whole again as the US Congress prepares to vote on a 614 billion euro economic stimulus package.
The president joined Hollywood stars and leading politicians at a gala to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday. “It is this sense of unity that is so much part of Lincoln’s legacy,” he said. “For despite all that divided us, North and South, black and white, he had an unyielding belief that we were at heart, one nation and one people and because of Abraham Lincoln and all who have carried on his work in the generations since, that is what we remain today, and it is for that reason that we are able to gather here this evening.” Members of both houses of Congress are said to have reached a deal to “bridge differences” over the size and scope of the stimulus package. Passage of the bill in the Senate hinged on the support of a handful of moderate Republicans. It is hoped the plan will begin to create and save up to three and a half million jobs. The initiative includes tax credits for individuals and families, tens of billions of dollars for infrastructure programmes as well as aid for the growing number of unemployed and assistance for those without health care.