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Stimulus Plan Receives Final Approval in Congress

Posted by tothewire on February 14, 2009

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WASHINGTON — Congress on Friday approved a $787 billion economic stimulus measure, meeting the crushing mid-February deadline that Democrats had set for adopting the centerpiece of President Obama’s early agenda but without quelling partisan divisions in Washington. Not a single House Republican voted for the bill.

The House vote was 246 to 183, with just 7 Democrats joining all 176 Republicans in opposition. In the Senate, the vote, 60 to 38, was similarly partisan. Only 3 centrist Republicans joined 55 Democrats and 2 independents in favor.

The Senate finally adopted the bill at 10:47 p.m. after what appeared to be the longest Congressional vote in history. The peculiar 5-hour 17-minute process was required because Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, had to return to Washington from his home state after attending a funeral home visitation for his mother, who died Feb. 2.

Under a procedural deal between the parties, the bill needed 60 votes to pass. The vote began at 5:30 p.m., but from 7:07 p.m., when Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, cast his “aye,” the tally hung at 59 to 38, until Mr. Brown arrived.

Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill on Monday.

Despite the bill’s promise of increased unemployment benefits and new health care subsidies, as well as more than $100 billion in aid for states, House Republicans did not break rank. Even those from states hit hardest by the recession opposed the bill, in a rebuke of the new president.

During the debate, the Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, angrily dropped the 1,073-page bill text to the floor with a thump, as he accused Democrats of failing to read the legislation.

“The president made clear when we started this process that this was about jobs,” Mr. Boehner said after the vote. “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. And what it’s turned into is nothing more than spending, spending and more spending.”

The $787 billion plan — a combination of fast-acting tax cuts and longer-term government spending on public works projects, education, health care, energy and technology — was smaller than Democrats first proposed. But, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, more than 74 percent of the money will be spent within the next 18 months, a relatively rapid pace that could determine whether the plan succeeds.

The House voted in the afternoon, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats cheered on the floor. Ms. Pelosi handed out chocolate bars with a label reading, “A stimulus package we can all sink our teeth into.”

At a news conference, Ms. Pelosi and her top lieutenants praised Mr. Obama for completing the legislation so quickly.

“The president requested swift, bold action,” Ms. Pelosi said. “The American people are feeling a great deal of pain. They have uncertainty about their jobs, about health care, about the ability to pay for the education of their children, and sad to say in our great country, even to put food on the table. And today we have passed legislation that does take that swift, bold action on their behalf.”

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

http://www.nytimes.com

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4 Responses to “Stimulus Plan Receives Final Approval in Congress”

  1. obama the antichrist said

    WOOHOO WE GET A WHOLE $13 ON OUR PAYCHECKS!!!!!!! NOW I CAN GO BUY THAT CAR I ALWAYS WANTED!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!

    Like

  2. […] Christina Bellantoni wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe House voted in the afternoon, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats cheered on the floor. Ms. Pelosi handed out chocolate bars with a label reading, “A stimulus package we can all sink our teeth into.” … […]

    Like

  3. tothewire said

    lol OTA!

    Like

  4. tothewire said

    I have to admit I am more than a little disappointed.

    Like

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