12 February 2009 00:02 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US Senate and House negotiators on Wednesday agreed on a final stimulus bill that is to cost nearly $800bn (€624bn), drawing praise from President Barack Obama and complaints from congressional Republicans.
Final terms of the massive stimulus bill have not been made public, but Obama hailed what he called a “hard-fought” House-Senate compromise.
The Senate had approved its own version of the bill on Tuesday, an $838bn package that had more tax breaks for consumers and businesses than the House version.
The House bill, passed last week, provided for spending of $819bn and devoted more federal funding to education and health insurance coverage.
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But many Republicans in Congress were unhappy with what they regard as a Democrat spending bill rather than an economic stimulus measure.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of
McConnell also complained that the compromise bill was chiefly hammered together by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) with little input from minority Republicans.
The compromise bill - called a conference report - must now go to both the Senate and House floors for final votes before it can be sent to the White House for Obama’s signature.
Passage of the conference report in the House is virtually assured because of the large Democrat majority there, but approval in the Senate may be more problematic, according to Hill sources, especially if the compromise bill has gutted tax breaks favoured by Republicans.
The House and Senate votes might take place as early as tomorrow.
($1 = €0.78)
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