He painted a bleak picture if lawmakers do nothing. "This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse," Obama wrote in the op-ed titled, "The Action Americans Need."
Senate Democratic leaders hope for passage of the legislation by Friday at the latest, although prospects appear to hinge on crafting a series of spending reductions that would make the bill more palatable to centrists in both parties.
Obama rejected the argument that more tax cuts are needed in the plan and that piecemeal measures would be sufficient, arguing that Americans made their intentions clear in the election.
"I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change," he wrote.
Additionally, the Obama administration decided on a new package of aid measures for the financial services industry, including a bad bank component, and is expected to announce them next Monday.
The plan will be "smaller" than originally expected, according to a source, and centered around government guarantees and insurance of troubled assets, what's called a "ring fence" concept.
"Everybody seems to like that," said the source. "There's a lot of internal conflict about whether this [the bad bank] makes sense ... they realize they have to do something with the bad bank."
Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:
Day 16: Obama Imposes New Pay Rule (Feb. 4)
- Obama imposed tough new rules to rein in corporate pay, capping executive compensation at $500,000 a year for companies receiving taxpayer funds and limiting lavish severance packages paid to top officials. (Full Story)
- Republicans tried to push back against the ballooning size of Obama's stimulus plan, even as he warned that the financial crisis will turn into "a catastrophe" if the bill isn't passed quickly. Obama summoned centrist senators to the White House to discuss a plan to cut more than $50 billion in spending from the measure, which breached the $900 billion barrier in the Senate. (Full Story)
- An ex-aide to Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg is under investigation for allegedly taking baseball and hockey tickets from a lobbyist in exchange for legislative favors. This comes at a particularly bad time for Obama's administration, a day after he had to defend his selection process because two high-profile nominees withdrew due to tax problems. (Full Story)
Day 15: Withdrawls, Withdrawls... But the Show Goes On (Feb. 3)
- Former Senator Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The action comes after Daschle admitted failure to pay past taxes. "Now we must move forward," Obama said in a written statement accepting Daschle's request to be taken out of consideration. (Full Story)
- Obama's choice to oversee budget and spending reform, Nancy Killefer, also withdrew her nomination Tuesday because of tax reasons, according to a letter released by the White House. (Full Story)
- A group of Republican senators offered a $445 billion alternative plan to boosting the ailing economy, about half of which would be in the form of tax cuts. The stimulus package would include cutting payroll and income taxes for a year, as well as lowering the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 25 percent and offering home buyers a tax credit worth $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is still struggling with the details of a bad bank concept that is expected to be part of a package of industry and consumer measures to be unveiled next week, according to a source familiar with the situation.(Full Story)
- New U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he would prosecute Wall Street crime but was not planning any "witch hunts" despite mounting outrage among Americans over corporate excess. "We're not going to go out on any witch hunts," Holder told reporters. (Full Story)
Day 14: Obama Targets CEO Pay (Feb. 2)
- The Obama administration indicated that it will not unveil new measures to aid the financial services industry this week, but will instead move on the issue of Wall Street bonuses and executive compensation. (Full Story)
- Fighting to save his Cabinet nomination, Tom Daschle pleaded his case in a closed meeting with former Senate colleagues after publicly apologizing for failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes. Obama said he was "absolutely" sticking with his nominee for health secretary, and a key senator added an important endorsement. (Full Story)
Day 13: Obama's Bill 'Wastes a Ton of Money': Sen. Kyl (Feb. 1)
- The U.S. Senate's No. 2 Republican warned his party's support for Obama's economic stimulus bill was eroding and "major structural changes" were needed to win Republican support. "You have to start from scratch and reconstruct this," said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona. He said the proposed bill, with a price approaching $900 billion, "wastes a ton of money." (Full Story)
- Discussions between the Obama administration and financial industry representatives continued for a third day with the focus moving to new terms on lending, transparency and executive compensation for companies receiving financial aid, according to a source familiar with the situation. (Full Story)