President Obama Announces Hybrid Tax Credit Plan

By dancurranjr On March 24th, 2009

Washington Prius PHEVPresident Barack Obama on Thursday said his administration’s plans to investment heavily in energy research during hard times will create the kinds of jobs and technology the United States needs to survive economically.

“I know it’s not easy,” Obama told employees at an electric-car plant here in California, home of a giant and hurting economy. “There are days I’m sure when progress seems fleeting and days when it feels like you’re making no progress at all. That’s how it feels in the White House sometimes, too.”

The president defended pumping billions of dollars into energy research, saying that sometimes great discoveries don’t happen in a flash of brilliance, but rather as the result of a deliberate effort over time.

His economic message had the twin aim of touting the $787 billion economic stimulus plan and building support for his $3.6 trillion budget plan. Both put an emphasis on so-called green enterprises, like plug-in electric cars that are designed to be fuel efficient and kinder to the environment.

“Even as our American automakers are undergoing some painful adjustments, they are also retooling and remaking themselves into an industry that can compete and win,” Obama said. “And millions of jobs depend on it.”

Back in Washington — which Obama was glad to escape for a couple of days — Republican leaders remain in vocal opposition to Obama’s budget plan.

The president is playing a bit of divide-and-conquer this week, pitting his Republican critics against GOP governors and mayors eager for the federal money that his hard-fought stimulus plan will bring.

Next on the list of Republican notables to embrace the president is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was to join Obama at a town hall meeting later on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Obama will tape an appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” before flying back to Washington.

Congress recently enacted Obama’s stimulus bill without a single House Republican’s vote, and with only three GOP senators’ votes.

Republican governors have had mixed reactions to the massive measure. Some hardline conservatives, such as Mark Sanford of South Carolina, have rejected portions of the economic bounty.

Other GOP governors, including Charlie Crist of Florida, have welcomed Obama and the stimulus money. Schwarzenegger is casting his lot with that group.

The California governor also planned to meet with Obama in Washington on Friday, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat.

In Pomona, at the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center, Obama got a look at its Garage of the Future, with a solar panel roof and a Ford Escape hybrid parked inside. Later, Obama toured a testing bay where white-coated technicians evaluate battery designs for electric cards.

“It’s spotless,” he marveled. “Where’s the grime? Where’s the dirt?”

Obama looked at an LCD displaying test results for batteries, was briefed on an environmental chamber where life cycle testing takes place and talked to technicians running tests on another Escape and a golf-cart-sized electric vehicle with its chassis open.

As Obama began his two-day Southern California visit Wednesday in Costa Mesa, the White House released a list of projects to be funded with stimulus money. They include adding an eastbound lane to the Riverside Freeway/SR91 in Orange County. Obama’s mention of the project drew cheers from a crowd of 1,300 that greeted him in Costa Mesa.

When a recently laid-off school teacher told Obama of her plight, he said the stimulus will help thousands of teachers nationwide keep their jobs.

Throughout the trip, Obama is playing the role of the embattled populist crusader, helping average Americans fight entrenched interests on Capitol Hill and Wall Street.

He said Southern California’s weather and conversations are much nicer than in Washington. The conversation Wednesday was more one-sided, to be sure, as the Costa Mesa crowd cheered, 2,500 miles from the Capitol’s shadow.

He defended his ambitious plan to overhaul health care, energy, education, taxes and spending policies in the coming months, against unidentified forces aligned against him.

“I know some folks in Washington and on Wall Street are saying we should focus on only one problem at a time: ‘our problem,”‘ Obama said. “But that’s just not the way it works.”

“You don’t get to choose between paying your mortgage bills or your medical bills,” he said, adding that the government also must tackle multiple challenges at the same time.


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