Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Liberian authorities admit 17 patients are missing

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing Foley execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

Americas

Congress reaches deal on stimulus plan

Video by Kate WILLIAMS

Latest update : 2009-02-12

The US House of Representatives and the Senate have reached a preliminary agreement on a $789 billion economic stimulus package. Lawmakers are expected to cast final votes on the package on Thursday and Friday.

AFP - US lawmakers faced final votes on a plan to pump 789 billion dollars into the sputtering US economy on Thursday, promising President Barack Obama a major victory by week's end.

   
"I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans in Congress who came together around a hard-fought compromise that will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs and get our economy back on track," Obama said Wednesday.
   
Quick but hard-fought negotiations among delegates from the Senate and House of Representatives yielded a deal Wednesday and set up votes in the House and Senate, expected on Thursday and Friday, though the precise timing was not immediately clear.
   
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a key Obama ally, said she hoped to "take up the bill in the House and Senate in the next day or two" and that Obama was sign it before his self-imposed February 16 deadline.
   
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, an architect of the compromise, said he expected the House to vote on the titanic bill on Thursday, with the Senate following suit, perhaps on Friday.
   
"The votes are there for passage. That is clear," Baucus predicted as the first details of the package emerged around midday. "And I know they will not change."
   
The final deal emerged after the House of Representatives approved 819 billion dollars last week and the Senate passed an 838-billion-dollar bill Tuesday, setting up negotiations to reconcile the rival versions.
   
"I'm grateful to the House Democrats for starting this process, and for members in the House and Senate for moving it along with the urgency that this moment demands," said Obama.
   
Republicans charged that the final deal was the result of secret talks among House and Senate Democrats and three Senate Republicans, and pushed for a 48-hour delay during which the US public could consult the fine print online.
   
"What is the majority trying to hide?" asked the number two House Republican, Representative Eric Cantor, who warned against "action that we will later regret, action that possibly could do more harm than good to get us out of the economic crisis that we're in."
   
It was not clear whether the final vote would bring aboard more Republicans, none of whom backed the House version and just three of whom broke ranks to help push the package past the 60 votes needed to ensure Senate passage.
   
Supporters of the bill trumpeted what Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the "give and take" that produced the compromise, which aimed to revive the world's largest engine of economic growth.
   
Senator Susan Collins, one of the three swing-vote Republicans whose support was crucial to get Obama's mammoth plan through the Senate, said the new bill totaled 789 billion dollars.
   
"Today we have shown that, working together, we can address the enormous economic crisis facing our country," she said.
   
Collins said the total included about 150 billion dollars in infrastructure projects, that 35 percent of the total went to tax relief, and billions more would help the 49 states that face deep cuts in services to meet legal requirements that they produce balanced budgets.
   
"We do not have the luxury of time," said Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, warning: "We're a superpower. If we go down, there'll be chaos on this globe."
   
Obama, meanwhile, pursued an aggressive political and public relations blitz to win support from wavering lawmakers, trekking to a construction site in northern Virginia to tout what he called his "urgent" and "essential" plan.
   
"We've got to get a final version to my desk so that I can sign it," said the president, hoping for a big legislative win after his young presidency suffered a series of early setbacks.   

Date created : 2009-02-11

COMMENT(S)