With less than 70 minutes to spare…
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.
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.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Senators Collins and Nelson discuss the compromise on the economic stimulus package on Friday)