Stimulus bill set for votes in Congress
WASHINGTON - Reluctant to call it quits, key lawmakers bargained into overtime yesterday on the $789 billion economic stimulus legislation, dickering over details on tax cuts and federal spending before reaching an apparent final agreement more than 24 hours after announcing a deal.
Lingering controversy over school-modernization money, a scaled-back tax break for businesses, and other issues forced a delay in final votes on the legislation. But by last night, with Democratic leaders eager for final passage by the weekend, all issues were reported settled. House leaders announced a vote for today, with the Senate to follow today or during the weekend.
Yesterday, President Obama delivered what has become a daily call for congressional action, this time from the industrial heartland. With approval of the bill, he said in Peoria, Ill., companies "may be able to start growing again. Rather than cutting jobs, they may be able to create them again."
"It's about giving people a way to make a living, support their families, and live out their dreams," Obama said. "Americans aren't looking for a handout. They just want to work."
He spoke at
It was his fourth such stop this week, and Obama is going back on the road next week to convince Americans his stimulus plan will get the job done.
The president is planning stops in Denver and Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday, when he is also expected to talk about his administration's separate plan, announced this week, for using the rest of the $700 billion financial rescue package that Congress approved last year.
The White House is deciding where, when, and how Obama would sign the stimulus bill into law. Obama aides want to make a splash with the event, either by making it as high-profile as possible at the White House, or staging a ceremony on the road.
Back at the Capitol, provisions were coming to light that had not been included in the original bills that passed the House or Senate - or that differed markedly from earlier versions or that appeared to brush up against claims of the bill's supporters that no earmarks were included.
One last-minute addition was a $3.2 billion tax break for