US President Barack Obama seized on grim economic news Friday to push his economic stimulus bill, urging lawmakers to act boldly and overcome partisan divisions to counter a "continuing disaster" for Americans.
The House of Representatives approved the massive spending bill this week without any votes from opposition Republicans. It now goes to the Senate, where Obama was hoping for some Republican support for the plan he says is crucial to reviving a teetering US economy.
"The recession is deepening, and the urgency of our economic crisis is growing," Obama said Friday. "So this is a difficult moment, but I believe, if we act boldly and swiftly, it can be an American moment when we work through our differences together and overcome our divisions to face this crisis."
The government reported Friday that the US economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century. Obama used the new data to speak of meeting people on the campaign trail and hearing about lost jobs, homes foreclosed, hours cut and benefits slashed.