With less than 70 minutes to spare…

February 8, 2009

U.S. Senate Democrats had less than 70 minutes to spare when they finally filed the paperwork on Saturday for the compromise they reached with a handful of Republicans for the $827 billion economic stimulus package, setting up a vote for early next week.

USA/Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had hoped to file the specific language much earlier on Saturday but drafting took significantly longer. The compromise measure, some 778 pages long, was brokered by Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Ben Nelson.

With the paperwork filed, that will set a vote for 5:30 p.m. EST on Monday to wrap up debate on the stimulus package. If there are 60 votes, the Senate will vote on passing the legislation on Tuesday

Had the Democrats filed after midnight, that potentially could have delayed the votes and hampered their goal to get the legislation on President Barack Obama’s desk by Feb. 16 as he has sought.

Senators spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon debating the stimulus plan, with Republicans complaining that they were being rushed while Democrats said there was no time to lose to get the package done.

If the Senate approves the package of spending and tax cuts, lawmakers will have to work out differences with it and an $819 billion bill that the House of Representatives passed last week before it could be sent to Obama for his signature.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Senators Collins and Nelson discuss the compromise on the economic stimulus package on Friday)

14 comments

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The number of unemployed persons (11.6 million) and the unemployment rate (7.6 percent) rose in January. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 4.1 million. The Department of Labor reported today that nonfarm payroll employment fell sharply in January (-598,000) and the unemployment rate rose from 7.2 to 7.6 percent. Payroll employment has declined by 3.6 million since the start of the recession in December 2007, …. most of this mess happening only in past three months! And some wonder Obama is pushing so hard for a stimulus package. The Herbert Hoover approach, do nothing, is all we need, leading us to a twelve year depression ??

Does anyone really believe that the approaching deadline for filing the bill would have been honored, had they not met it? These people make the rules so they could have easily waived that requirement.

Would have preferred a good bill, rather than a fast bill. I mean, it’s not like we need to “declare” war on a country that didn’t attack us…

Posted by jvill | Report as abusive

The Republicans are afraid the bill will pass w/o their input so they selfishly delay this bill over little things that pale in comparison to this financial disaster we are now have.

These same Republicans had no problem voting for every spending bill Bush gave them. It is OBSTRUCTIONIST politics at their worst.

But they are all in ‘safe’ red districts so they really do not care what is best for the country, only what’s best for them and an opportunity to try and make Obama look bad. It’s shameful behavior and they should be voted out of office.

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

wrong dennis,because politicians never want to be held accountable for any thing that they think might be considered to have, or will go wrong.how many democrats voted yes on the invasion of oraq?then had the audacity to suggest that they did because bush lied to them.thats as stupid as suggesting that bush was responsible for the 911 attack,yet over 30%of democrats believe he was, do you?how about you eric?so considering this past record can you even suggest that the republicans will enter into agreement with democrats just to be cooperative, if they consider it a bad spending bill,they are not that stupid,yes the two from maine will, but are they really republicans?.because of this the democrats are not happy because it is their bill,and biden said it has a 30%chance of failing,the prospect of this hanging over their heads and is making them uneasy, if it does fail obama is over board.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I’m glad to see one of my Senators (Collins) is involved in the negotiations and yes Brian she and Snowe will probably back the bill if the House doesn’t get greedy on the rewrite of what is submitted from the Senate.
In answer to the question are Snowe and Collins really Republicans. Yes, there are closer to old school Republican views than the neo-cons on the Republican side of the aisle and see not only the necessity of this spending bill but also the price of doing nothing.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Actually Dennis, this is politics at its best. There should be a discussion/fight over the spending plan. Just to ram it through will not satisfy the the majority of the country. Only 37 percent of the nation supports this bill, yet Obama, the democrats and 3 very borderline republicans are going to go against the majority of the people and pass it anyway.

Obama wanted a bipartisan bill, but he won’t get it because it isn’t going to do with it is supposed to do with all the pork added to it. It is a sham and we are going to pay the price.

So, what the republicans are doing is their job. That’s what they were elected to do. Someone needs to stop this train wreck from spiraling out of control with a 1.2 trillion plan to waste our money. Hyperinflation, here we come.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Is there a provision in the bill that the money allocated must be used for job created in the US? The trend in big business today is to lay people off and then outsource the work to a person or persons in another country to save money. If the money goes to pay for outsources won’t the stimulus package have a hard time achieving the goal of stimulating the American economy .

Posted by Rick Leonard | Report as abusive

TC your “facts” are wrong as usual. Your “37% of the nation” is really 37% of REPUBLICANS, not 37% of the nation. You have been reading too much Powerline.

Gallup has these numbers in response to this question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following has handled the government’s efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill?

President Obama- 67% approve, 25% diapprove.
Congressional Democrats- 48% approve,42% disapprove.
Congressional Reublicans- 31% approve, 58% DISAPPROVE.

Republicans spent the ten years of their majority ramming through everthing they wanted. Democratic proposals were never even put on the schedule for floor debate. I remember Speaker J. Dennis Hastert making it policy that which Congress would pass bills only if most House Republicans back them, regardless of how many Democrats favor them. Hastert said, “Bills will reach the House floor, after negotiations with the Senate, only if the majority of the majority supports them. That’s what Republicans call bipartisanship.
Obama is foolish for thinking he can get cooperation from congressional Republicans. The congressional GOP has its head held high because they’ve come up with a reckless and irresponsible economic worldview, and convinced the party to rally around it. They’re thrilled because, in the midst of a genuine economic crisis, the party, with near unanimity, has agreed not to have any constructive policy role whatsoever.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

TC-here’s the ACTUAL POLL from Gallup’s own website.

Jan 27, PRINCETON, NJ — As President Barack Obama tries to win over reluctant Republicans on his economic stimulus plan, a slim majority of the American public wants to see Congress pass the roughly $800 billion package of new government spending and tax breaks. According to Gallup Poll Daily tracking on Tuesday, 52% of the nation’s adults are in favor of Congress passing the plan and 37% are opposed, while 11% have no opinion.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

can you see tc, eric is a typical liberal see how he slid around the other question frightened to answer because he knew we would watching like hawks.like the other birds he some times throws snowballs at.answer the dam question eric do you believe bush was behind 911.just open your mouth let it burst forth.

Posted by brain lee | Report as abusive

Here is one more for you getplaning. Also from Rasmussen (9 Feb 09):

“With the Senate poised to vote Tuesday on an $827-billion version of the economic recovery plan, 62% of U.S. voters want the plan to include more tax cuts and less government spending”

Low taxes. It works and its what people want.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Brian, do I believe that Bush was behind 9/11? If you mean do I think that the Bush admin planned it or stepped aside to allow it to happen than no. That’s pretty far fetched. Now, do I believe that they dropped the ball and ignored warnings from the outgoing Clinton admin, yes I do. I also think that they screwed up by not catching the high jackers who were on watch lists when they entered the country.
As for the Iraq war vote, Congress voted on the intel they were presented. They trusted that the information they were being given had been thoroughly confirmed and vetted. They were wrong. Even MI6 in the UK was duped by intel leaked from the US and then confirmed by US sources. It was one big circle of lies being confirmed by the liars.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

eric it looks like the french will be the country that america looks to for help, the word terrorist is no longer politically correct.i can just see the countries two ambassadors in a huddle in the UN.now that there is a totally different stratagem.can the changes be that dramatic,are we going to change from water boarding to tickling feet.that would nice earner eric, supplying the feathers.incidentally no messages by pigeon they caught a bunch there in iran recently and said they were US spies,so that going harm obama/s plans?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive