Obama economic plan signed into law

Original source: US President Barack Obama signed his hard-fought stimulus plan into law on Tuesday in the hope that the huge injection of public funds will cushion the collapsing US economy.

Before signing the $787 billion (£552bn) stimulus Bill, which passed Congress last week, Mr Obama toured a solar panel installation project in Denver in an event designed to show how billions of dollars in funding for alternative energy could launch a new 'green economy.'

He moves to Arizona today for the unveiling of a programme to help millions of homeowners fend off home-mortgage foreclosures.

Mr Obama's stimulus Bill is designed to start the flow of public money into infrastructure projects, health care, renewable energy development and conservation, with the twin goals of short-term job creation and longer-term economic progress.

It includes a $400 tax break for most individual workers and $800 for couples, including those who do not earn enough to pay income tax.

It delivers tens of billions of dollars to states to prevent deep spending cuts and more layoffs and consumers will receive tax incentives to buy first homes and new cars.

Poor people and laid-off workers will benefit from increased unemployment and food benefits and subsidies for health insurance.

The Bill also includes a controversial 'Buy American' provision that has drawn the ire of US trading partners, including China.

Republican legislators, who largely balked at the 'welfare spendathon,' complained that it did not cut taxes enough and that the spending measures didn't effectively target the vast sums of money towards short-term job creation.