US President Barack Obama on Friday created a new bipartisan advisory board to develop solutions to the country's economic crisis as he warned lawmakers that immediate action was critical to pulling the US out of a serious recession.
The 17-member board, led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, includes conservative and left-leaning economists from academia, labour unions and business.
"This is just the beginning of a long journey back to progress and prosperity," Obama said in prepared remarks released by the White House.
Obama also repeated his call for the Senate to pass a more-than $800-billion economic recovery package that is at the core of Obama's plans to revive the world's largest economy. Efforts to reach a compromise on the package were ongoing Friday.
"If we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis will turn into a catastrophe," Obama said after the US Labour Department Friday reported another 598,000 jobs were lost in January, the worst monthly decline since 1974.
Obama had announced his intention to create an advisory board soon after his November general election victory. On Friday he was to sign an executive order to create the body, which will be set up for two years.
Obama said the board was designed to provide him with independent advice on how best to tackling the country's economy crisis.
"Not everyone is going to agree with each other, and not all of them are going to agree with me ­and that's precisely the point," Obama said. "We want to ensure that our policies have the benefit of independent thought and vigorous debate."