Choose Your Language Of Preference Below
By Hans Nichols
Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) — President-elect Barack Obama promised to make the “single largest new investment,” in America’s roads, require public buildings to be more energy-efficient, and to modernize health care with electronic medical records.
Using his weekly radio address to unveil five components of his plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs, Obama pledged that he would not “do it the old Washington way.”
“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” he said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve — by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”
The incoming 44th president opened his address by saying that yesterday’s Labor Department report of 533,000 lost jobs in November was “another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing.”The economic slowdown has been exacerbated by the worst credit crisis in seven decades and is compounded by potential collapse of the U.S. auto industry. Congress will return next week to decide whether to rescue the Big Three car companies.
In addition to investing in infrastructure, requiring energy standards on public buildings and updating health-care practices, Obama said that he will launch a “sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings,” and will boost broadband deployment across America.
Passing Plan ‘Immediately’
“These are a few parts of the economic recovery plan that I will be rolling out in the coming weeks,” he said. “When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately.”
On infrastructure, he said his investment would be the largest since the creation of the federal interstate highway system in the 1950s. To the states that will be the conduits for the funding, he had a simple message: “use it or lose it.”
“If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money,” he said.
Obama’s plan to make public buildings more energy efficient should reduce the government’s energy bill, which he called the highest in the world. He plans to replace heating systems and install energy-efficient light bulbs.
He vowed to make schools more energy efficient, while also putting new computers in classrooms.
Obama also plans to upgrade Internet infrastructure, calling it “unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption.”
Modernizing health care was the final component of the plan. By introducing new technology and electronic medical records, he said health-care workers could “prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”
Obama, in Chicago for the weekend, has no public events scheduled for today. Tomorrow, he will mark the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor with a news conference in Chicago, according to a statement from his transition team.
The press conference is scheduled begin at 1:00 p.m. Chicago time tomorrow. No further details were provided.