Now House-Senate Must Settle Stimulus

The Senate passed the stimulus today and now a House-Senate committee meets to finalize the bill.
“There is no reason we can’t do this by the end of the week,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. He said he was prepared to hold the Senate in session into the Presidents Day weekend if necessary, and cautioned Republicans not to try and delay final progress.

He said passage would mark “the first step on the long road to recovery.”

Moments before the vote, the Congressional Budget Office issued a new estimate that put the cost at $838 billion, an increase from the $827 billion figure from last week.

“This bill has the votes to pass. We know that,” conceded Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican who has spoken daily in the Senate against the legislation.

Even so, in the hours before Monday’s vote, Republican opponents attacked it as too costly and unlikely to have the desired effect on the economy. “This is a spending bill, not a stimulus bill,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH):

“The fact is, this trillion-dollar spending plan is not much different than the one House Democrats passed two weeks ago.  It is more costly, is loaded with slow-moving Washington spending, opens the door to scores of pet projects that taxpayers cannot afford, and is not focused on creating more jobs for families and small businesses. Even worse, its authors are trying to take advantage of the crisis in our economy to enact a series of liberal policy proposals that have nothing to do with job creation, such as reversing welfare reform and letting government ration out health care options to America families and seniors.”

Senator Chuck Schumer: “Americans don’t care.”
Video:
Schumer Says Americans Don’t Care About Pork Spending

Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post:
“Republicans just don’t like this bill.” 

This bill is the issue: it has a lot of spending, as Leader Boehner suggests, that is not going to help….

But the president seemed to say last night that the time for bipartisanship is over.

So we get the House-Senate compromise.  Swallow.

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