Monday, November 29, 1999

Biden: US growth solid but don`t ease up on stimulus

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The United States will continue to deliver solid economic growth but should not slacken a multibillion-dollar effort to create jobs via fiscal stimulus, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday."This is not the time ... to take our foot off the accelerator," Biden said after delivering an update on the impact of a $787 billion emergency federal spending package President Barack Obama signed in 2009.As the U.S. economy emerges from its worst downturn since the 1930s, unemployment edged down to a still-high 9.7 percent in May and the private sector generated a disappointing 41,000 new jobs.Biden said the economy would keep creating jobs on a monthly basis. But he declined to talk specifically about private sector hiring in June and acknowledged the labor market continued to require government help."We still need to continue to create jobs and spur job growth now," Biden said in a rare appearance by the vice president at the daily White House briefing.Congress is debating additional public spending measures to encourage hiring and ease the pain of unemployment. But lawmakers are wary of adding to the record U.S. budget deficit as a European debt crisis has shown the patience of investors with free-spending governments is limited.The U.S. deficit is projected to be $1.56 trillion in fiscal 2010, with the federal debt nearing $14 trillion.Biden said last year's emergency spending represented only a minimal contribution to the U.S. deficit. The Obama administration argues that spending money to lift growth now is fiscally prudent in the long term because a stronger economy will boost tax revenues that will help pare back the deficit.Biden said he hoped the administration could reach a compromise with Congress for another jobs bill but acknowledged this was a politically perilous message for lawmakers to convey -- especially in the run-up to congressional elections in November."That is an economic fact of life but is a politically difficult issue. And that's what leadership is about," Biden said.He also said the U.S. economy would continue to grow."We've gone from a GDP that was shrinking at 6.4 percent the first quarter we came into office to a GDP that grew 3 percent last quarter and averaged 4 percent over the last three quarters," Biden said."We believe ... that this growth is going to be sustained at that 3 percent plus range for the indefinite future." (Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by John O'Callaghan)
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