Obama Turns Up Heat for Economic Action

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CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama faces a tough week in getting a divided Congress on board with his plan to boost the troubled economy.

Senators may pass the current $827 billion stimulus bill Tuesday, but up next comes an even harder task for Obama and the Democrats. The House and Senate must reconcile the main differences in their two versions of the bill.

Click play to watch John Jessup's report and an interview with CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody.   Click here to watch Pat Robertson's comments on the stimulus bill.

Supporters the President's plan had hoped to have a stimulus package ready for his signature by Feb. 16. That's a deadline that grows more challenging by the day.

Still, the Obama administration is ramping up the pressure Congress to pass the bill. Tonight, the President holds his first prime-time news conference at 8.m. EST time to present his case again to the entire nation.

More Job Cuts Announced

In the meantime, the economy is hurting, with even more announcements of job cuts.

Today Nissan announced it is slashing 20,000 jobs, which is 8.5 percent of its global work force.

And perhaps no place better highlights the growing unemployment in the United States than in Elkhart, Indiana, where unemployment tripled over last year to 15 percent.

"A lot of the places when you go up to the front door, there's already a sign on that door that says 'We are not accepting applications,'" said unemployed worker Doug Hartcell.

President Obama travels to Elkhart today for his first of two town hall meetings. He will answer questions from people who are curious about how his stimulus plan will help them personally.

Tuesday, he campaigns in Fort Myers, Florida, in an effort to build public support for his plan.

"It helps our states and communities avoid painful tax hikes or layoffs for our teachers, nurses, and first responders," the President explained.

Stim Bill Set to Pass Senate

After a week of debate, the stage is set for the bill to clear the Senate with three Republicans on board to help Democrats get the sixty votes they need to pass the $827 billion measure.

"I think having three Republicans, potentially, support it in the Senate out of 535 members of Congress is hardly a bipartisan effort," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX.

"We're going to amass the largest debt in the history of this country by any measurement and we're going to ask our kids and grandkids to pay for it," said Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.

Once the Senate passes the bill, it will have to be reconciled with the House version. There are some major differences between the two, like $20 billion in educational spending cuts and $40 billion in cuts for aid to states. The bill has yet to go to conference and already the rhetoric is heating up.

"We'll come to some agreement on the legislation," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "But it's just unfortunate that in doing so we have to reduce the number of jobs in the name of bipartisanship."

Sources: CBN News, The Associated Press

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