$827B stimulus in place
AP Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON ” With job losses soaring nationwide, Senate Democrats reached agreement with a small group of Republicans on Friday night on an economic stimulus measure at the heart of President Barack Obama’s plan for combatting the worst recession in decades.
“The American people want us to work together. They don’t want to see us dividing along partisan lines on the most serious crisis confronting our country,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of three Republican moderates who broke ranks and
pledged their votes for the bill.
Democratic leaders expressed confidence that the concessions they had made to
Republicans and moderate Democrats to trim the measure had cleared the way for its passage. No final vote was expected before today or Sunday.
Officials put the cost of the bill at $827 billion, including Obama’s signature tax cut of up to $1,000 for working couples, even if they earn too little to pay income taxes.
Republican critics complained that whatever the cost, billions were ticketed for programs that would not create jobs.
The agreement capped a tense day of backroom negotiations in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, sought to attract the support of enough Republicans to give the measure the needed 60-vote majority. Democrats hold a 58-41 majority in the Senate, including two independents.