Stimulus Passes Senate – $838 Billion
The second shoe has dropped:
An $838 billion economic recovery bill cleared the Senate Tuesday, setting the stage for final negotiations with the House and President Barack Obama, who must step forward now and put his own stamp on the package.
The 61-37 roll call followed a last Republican effort to derail president’s initiative by raising a budget point of order against the massive bill for adding to the deficit. This also failed on an identical 61-37 vote waiving the rules.
Just three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania — crossed the aisle to back the president. Going forward, Obama’s challenge will be to retain this support while also bridging a rural-urban divide in his own party that could delay a final agreement.
ProPublica compares the House and Senate versions in detail.
As hard as this was, the real work begins now. Reconciling these two rather different bills and coming up with something that can still pass the Senate — let alone get 60 votes in the Senate — is no easy task. My guess is that we’ll eventually pass something significantly smaller.