WASHINGTON — President Obama urged Congress on Saturday to swiftly resolve its differences in the sweeping economic recovery measure and “put this plan in motion” to bring fiscal relief and new jobs to all corners of the country.
“Legislation of such magnitude deserves the scrutiny that it’s received over the last month, and it will receive more in the days to come,” Mr. Obama said. “But we can’t afford to make ‘perfect’ the enemy of the absolutely necessary.”
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Mr. Obama tempered the sharp criticism that he has aimed in recent days at Republicans who have criticized the legislation as riddled with spending that will not create jobs. He praised the agreement reached late Friday by a coalition of Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans.
“Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands,” Mr. Obama said. “In the midst of our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people were hoping that Congress would begin to confront the great challenges we face. That was, after all, what last November’s election was all about.”
The president’s sales pitch, though, is far from over. Even as the Senate prepares to vote on the bill in the coming days, sharp differences remain with the House over the scope of the recovery package. The White House is already working to bridge the gap so the legislation can be ready for Mr. Obama’s signature in the next week to 10 days.
“Americans across this country are struggling, and they are watching to see if we’re equal to the task before us,” Mr. Obama said. “Let’s show them that we are. And let’s do whatever it takes to keep the promise of America alive in our time.”
As Mr. Obama and his family made their first weekend trip to the presidential retreat at Camp David, his advisers worked to build more support for the economic recovery plan. A handful of Republicans have already signed on, but aides said they hoped to attract more to create the image of a stronger bipartisan bill.
In the address, Mr. Obama pointed to specific states that would benefit from the economic plan, which his economists have projected would save or create more than 3 million jobs over the next two years. In Maine, he said, 16,000 jobs would be saved or created, and nearly 80,000 in Indiana, “almost all of them in the private sector.”
“That’s what is at stake with this plan: putting Americans back to work,” he said.
The reference to Maine, which he has been making throughout the week, is aimed at the state’s two Republican senators, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, whose votes are important. The president is traveling to Indiana on Monday to hold his first town-hall-style meeting as president, where he will try to build broader support for the program.
In Florida, where Mr. Obama is scheduled to visit on Tuesday, 485 schools would be upgraded, he said, which the administration says would create a cascade of new jobs. And in Ohio, he said, 4.5 million workers would receive tax relief of up to $1,000.
“The American people know that our challenges are great,” Mr. Obama said Saturday. “They don’t expect Democratic solutions or Republican solutions — they expect American solutions.”