Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery
Saturday, Feb 7, 2009
Against a backdrop of rising unemployment, Senate Democrats struck a hard-won deal yesterday with a handful of Republican moderates to scale back spending in a massive economic stimulus bill, virtually guaranteeing Senate passage of the legislation but also ensuring arduous final negotiations with the House.
The compromise represented a dramatic finale to a tumultuous and frustrating week for Democrats pushing the package, as Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) saw the limitations of an expanded majority and a band of GOP centrists came to appreciate the very high price they can extract for their votes on key measures.
The bipartisan deal was cut after two days of talks and would cut more than $100 billion from the $920 billion bill, dropping its cost to about $820 billion, if amendments added on the Senate floor are retained.
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Most Republicans remained strongly opposed to the compromise bill, saying it was too costly and ineffective, and Democratic leaders were counting on just three GOP votes for the plan as of last night but hoped to expand the number before a final vote.
Moments after Reid announced the deal on the Senate floor, GOP lawmakers said that they will seek to delay a final vote through procedural objections, which could push debate to as late as Monday.
This article was posted: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 5:39 am