Stimulus Pitch Absorbs White House Agenda

Senior Obama administration officials sought to intensify pressure on Congress yesterday to pass a massive stimulus package for the crumbling economy, warning lawmakers of the consequences of delay while rescheduling the unveiling of their financial rescue plan to keep the spotlight on Capitol Hill.

The White House asked Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to focus today on winning congressional support for the stimulus bill instead of detailing a highly anticipated initiative to aid financial firms, consumer credit markets and struggling homeowners. That rescue plan announcement was moved to tomorrow.

By David Cho and Michael A. Fletcher
the Washington Post

The Senate will hold a key procedural vote today on the stimulus package to determine whether a compromise struck this weekend, which removed about $100 billion in spending from the bill, will persuade enough Republicans to support the measure.

Even if senators approve the bill, which carries an $827 billion price tag, they face the daunting task of negotiating a final bill with the House, which passed its own version last week with far more spending proposals and fewer tax cuts. Democratic aides warned yesterday that it could be difficult to get the stimulus to the president’s desk by Congress’s self-imposed deadline of Friday.

President Obama plans to fly today to Elkhart, Ind., where the unemployment rate has soared to 15.3 percent — about twice the national average — before holding a prime-time news conference to urge congressional leaders to quickly reconcile the two versions of the bill.

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