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Stimulus: Republicans Block Dems Offering to Spend More Money

February 3, 2009

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked Democrats from adding $25 billion for highways, mass transit, and water projects to President Barack Obama‘s economic recovery program.

Already unhappy over the size of the measure, Republicans insisted additional infrastructure projects be paid for with cuts elsewhere in the bill.

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

But the Democratic amendment garnered 58 votes, just shy of the supermajority needed under Senate budget rules, and many more efforts to increase the measure’s size are sure to follow.

“We can’t add to the size of this bill,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. “The amount is just inconceivable to most people.”

At issue was a plan by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to increase the highway funding in the bill to $40 billion, which reflected complaints from lawmakers in both parties that Obama’s plan doesn’t do enough to relieve a backlog of unfinished projects. The duo also wanted to increase mass transit programs by $5 billion boost and water projects by $7 billion.

“Our highways are jammed. People go to work in gridlock,” Feinstein said Tuesday.

Just two Republicans supported the move, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Christopher Bond of Missouri. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., named Tuesday morning to become Commerce secretary, did not vote.

Senate debate unfolded as Obama issued another call for swift action on the measure, urging lawmakers to act “with the same sense of urgency Americans feel every day.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009020
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Related:
Stimulus: Some Loony Spending Requests in Obama Plan