CAT CEO Contradicts Obama

President Obama repeated the claim yesterday that Jim Owens, the CEO of Caterpillar, Inc., said “if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off.” But after the president left the event, Owens said the exact opposite.

Asked if the Stimulus Package would be able to stop the 22,000 layoffs or not, Owens said, “I think realistically no. The honest reality is we’ll probably have to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”

“It’s going to take a while before the Stimulus Package kicks in,” he said. Owens supports the stimulus plan, but said it would take some time to have an impact on his industry and “is a little light on heavy construction type roads, bridges, etc.”

In a statement Friday, Owens said he and the president “fundamentally agree” that the U.S. Stimulus Package will benefit the U.S. economy and should spur demand for the types of products made by Caterpillar.

Stimulus Packages in the United States and abroad, if enacted quickly, would help the global economy recover and could bolster demand for Caterpillar products, he said.

That demand “would likely, over time, provide Caterpillar the opportunity to recall employees who have been laid off during this downturn.”

$787.2 Billion Stimulus Bill Passes House

With Democrats arguing that the economic crisis requires a large and immediate infusion of government spending, a deeply divided House of Representatives approved a final version of President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus plan Friday afternoon.

After about 90 minutes of debate, the House voted 246-183 to approve the legislation, which includes $46 billion for transportation projects, $40 billion to extend and increase unemployment benefits, and $115 billion in new income tax credits for 95% of workers. No Republicans voted for the legislation. The Senate is expected to begin voting on the bill tonight.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed its original version of a stimulus bill with 61 votes, which was one more than needed to stop a Republican filibuster. But for this vote on the compromise bill worked out with the House, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), who has a malignant brain tumor, is not expected to return to Washington for the vote, meaning every other Democrat is needed to reach 60 votes and prevent a filibuster from Republicans.

Here are the details for Infrastructure:

· $46 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair
· $8.4 billion for mass transit
· $8 billion for construction of high-speed railways and $1.3 billion for Amtrak
· $4.6 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers
· $4 billion for public housing improvements
· $6.4 billion for clean- and drinking-water projects
· $7 billion to bring broadband Internet service to underserved areas.

Greg Sitek

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