Stimulus Passes Key Hurdle in Senate
In a move that all but ensures the Senate passage of the $838 billion stimulus compromise, Senate lawmakers this evening voted to end a GOP filibuster of the upper chamber’s bill, pounded out by a group of moderates late last week.
The count was 61 to 36, with almost every Republican voting against the bill. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republicans who voted in support.
The vote came on the same day that President Barack Obama traveled to Elkhart, Ind. for a public forum designed to sell the stimulus plan to a public tiring of enormous taxpayer-funded economic rescues. Obama is slated to hold the first news conference of his administration tonight in Washington at 8 p.m.
The upper chamber will vote on final passage tomorrow afternoon. Afterwards, the House and Senate will have to work out the differences — some of them considerable — between the two bills. The hope among lawmakers is to reconcile those differences by the weekend. Look for one chamber to go home unhappy.