President Barack Obama has asked America's G-20 trading partners to work closely with him "to safeguard and strengthen the recovery" from the near collapse of the global economic system in the fall of 2008.
Looking ahead to the coming G-20 summit in Toronto, Obama noted in a letter that "significant weaknesses" linger among the major and developing economic powers. He told his summit partners "it is essential that we have a self-sustaining recovery that creates the good jobs that our people need." The White House released a copy of the letter on Friday.
In it, Obama said that the June 25-27 summit should also focus on efforts to stabilize public debt, while at the same time saying nations must be careful about withdrawing stimulus programs too quickly during times of slack demand and general business sluggishness.
He gave this message to Congress this week in trying to preserve legislation aimed at adding to the $787 billion stimulus law that lawmakers approved last year. But Obama was thwarted in this initiative, as the Senate rejected long-sought legislation to provide stimulus spending and a reprieve for doctors about to get hit with a big cut in their Medicare payments.
The failed measure, killed by a Republican filibuster, would have provided further jobless aid for the long-term unemployed, $24 billion in aid to cash-strapped state governments and the renewal of dozens of popular tax breaks for businesses and individuals.
Earlier this month, Obama reissued a plea for more stimulus spending as insurance against another recession. But the measure instead fell victim to election-year anxiety over huge federal deficits despite being pared back by Democratic leaders.
In the letter released to his G-20 partners Friday, Obama said: "I am committed to the restoration of fiscal sustainability in the United States and believe that all G-20 countries should put in place credible and growth-friendly plans to restore sustainable public finances."
"But it is critical that the timing and pace of consolidation in each economy suit the needs of the global economy, the momentum of private sector demand and national circumstances."
The recovery from recession in the United States has been erratic and uneven.
The economy is expanding, but at a weaker pace than in many previous recoveries. The Commerce Department reported that the nation's gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — grew at a 3 percent annual rate in the January-to-March quarter. That was down from the 5.6 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2009.
After the last deep recession in the early 1980s, the economy grew at a pace of 7 percent to 9 percent for five straight quarters.
The national unemployment rate continues to cover near double-digit levels.