14 February 2009 03:51 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The US Senate on Friday gave final congressional approval to a $787bn (€614bn) economic stimulus bill and sent it to the White House where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law on Saturday.
The Senate vote was 60-38, with only three Republicans joining 57 Democrats to approve the controversial spending bill. One Democrat senator and one Republican were not present.
Under rules of the Senate for this legislation, 60 votes were needed for passage.
The final stimulus package, which was worked out in conference committee meetings on Thursday, was given final approval in the US House of Representatives earlier on Friday but without any Republican support.
Senate Republicans opposed the measure on grounds that it burdens the ?xml:namespace>
Republicans also wanted more than the some $5bn in tax cuts for business that the bill contains. The measure also includes about $186bn in tax breaks for low-income and middle-income taxpayers.
Democrats argued that while not perfect, the bill does inject hundreds of billions of federal dollars into the economy, an infusion that should help revive it.
However, the final bill includes only $29bn for road and bridge work.
About $300bn of the measure will be spent to improve schools, assist states in providing health insurance for the uninsured and provide funding for students and laid-off workers.
Another $6bn will pay for $8,000 tax credits that will be made available to first-time home buyers, a measure aimed at reviving the long-troubled
Chemical sector and housing officials had argued for more support for the home construction industry, which is a major downstream consumer of chemicals, resins and synthetic fibres.
However, an additional federal spending plan is expected from the White House and the US Treasury Department in about two weeks, aimed chiefly at halting runaway foreclosures that have flooded the housing market with homes for sale.
($1 = €0.78)
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