Governors and local officials understand best the devastating effects "of this contraction in the economy," Obama said before meeting in private with Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas in Washington. "People are being laid off, and that means that governors like Jim are having to not only deal with declining revenue, but increased social services to provide support for people who are unemployed as they're seeking work."
Douglass said he and other governors appreciated meeting with Obama in December because they got a chance to tell him "we needed some assistance from the federal government to stimulate the economy, to create jobs, to help us balance our budgets and preserve essential programs for the American people and avoid the need to raise taxes at the state level."
"I know there are some differences of opinion on some of the elements," Douglass said of the economic stimulus package being considered in the Senate this week. " And if I were writing it, it might be a little different. If you were writing it, it might be a little different. But the essence of a recovery package is essential to get our nation's economy moving."
The package is designed to provide states relief, ensure people can receive unemployment benefits and healthcare, create jobs and put in place infrastructure "that allows us to put people back to work," Obama said.
Obama acknowledged differences of opinion as well, but added, "what we can't do is let very modest differences get in the way of the overall package moving forward quickly."