US senators reach tentative compromise on stimulus plan

February 7th, 2009 - 9:04 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 7 (DPA) A bipartisan group of US senators put forward a compromise Friday night on a massive and unprecedented economic stimulus package that likely had enough votes to pass the Senate.The tentative deal was on a $780-billion recovery plan and was expected to be put to a vote over the weekend. The compromise stripped some $150 billion in spending out of legislation already before the Senate.

“This compromise greatly improves the bill. It will help our economy recover from a dangerous recession,” said Senator Susan Collins, a key moderate Republican who led negotiations on a compromise throughout Friday.

Collins was one of three Republican senators expected to support the compromise. Majority leader Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the chamber, said that a vote in the Senate was “unlikely” Friday night but could take place in a special session over the weekend.

A total of 60 votes are needed in the 100-member chamber to prevent opponents from using parliamentary manoeuvres to block legislation. The majority Democrats, who support the stimulus, hold 58 seats.

“I do believe we have to act, and I believe that, under the circumstances, this is the best we can do,” said Republican Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania.

The House of Representatives last week passed an $819-billion version of the stimulus legislation. Both houses would have to reconcile their differing versions over the next week.

President Barack Obama Friday said a further delay of the bill would be “inexplicable and inexcusable”.

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