House Passes Stimulus Bill Without Republican Support
FEBRUARY 13, 2009, 2:47 P.M. ET House Passes Stimulus Bill Without Republican Support Senate to Vote Later Friday
By COREY BOLES and FAWN JOHNSON
WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives voted Friday to approve a sweeping $787 billion economic-stimulus bill designed to shore up the flagging economy and stem job losses.
The House vote was 246-183, with one Democratic member voting "present."
As expected, the vote was strictly along party lines, with not a single Republican lawmaker voting in favor of the recovery package. There were seven Democrats who opposed the bill, fewer than the 11 who voted against the earlier House version. (See the roll call.)
Where the Money Goes
Selected programs from the $789.2 billion billHow the Stimulus Plans Differed
Compare the House and Senate versions of the stimulus legislation.Related Reading
Page One: Next Challenge: Spending MoneyCongress Moves Ahead on StimulusEmanuel Says Obama Team Lost Message Funds for Projects Will Flow to Tech FirmsBuyout Firms Could Reap WindfallMajor Funding for Unemployed, PoorFinal Bill Boosts Rail SpendingEducation, Transportation Jobs Would Get BoostBill Provides $40 Billion for Energy ProjectsExecutive Compensation Limits Included in PlanTrade Adjusted Assistance Extended to Service SectorRail Advocates Win in Stimulus BillFinal Text of the Agreement
Text of the Conference Report -- Division AText of the Conference Report -- Division BJoint Explanatory Statement -- Division AJoint Explanatory Statement -- Division BOther Documents
Budget Impact of LegislationFact sheet from Speaker Pelosi's officeDraft text of the Senate's stimulus billTax, health, state fiscal relief and other provisionsDiscuss
Do you think the stimulus legislation will work?How would you grade Obama's handling of the economy?Video
Video: Stimulus Bill on Track for SigningVideo: The Prospects for a U.S. RecoveryVideo: Skepticism Surrounds Stimulus PlanThe Senate is likely to vote later Friday evening.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, battling brain cancer, will miss the Senate vote, according to the Associated Press. Kennedy spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner said Friday that Sen. Kennedy was continuing his treatment and physical rehabilitation in warmer weather.
The measure is a compromise between House and Senate bills that were hammered out at breakneck speed over the last several days to meet President Barack Obama's request that the bill be on his desk by the Presidents Day holiday on Monday.
House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D., Wis.) said the giant spending bill was vital because other traditional remedies have been tapped out, such as consumer spending, demand for new autos and Federal Reserve monetary policy. "The only bullet left is fiscal policy," Rep. Obey said.
The Senate will vote on the stimulus later Friday, though debate had already begun in earnest before noon.
Assuming the Senate does approve the legislation, it will then be ready for Obama's signature on Monday, according to a statement released by the White House.
"We need to show the American people that we can save and create jobs," Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), said in a speech on the Senate floor.
The bill runs to more than a thousand pages and contains many provisions aimed at large segments of the economy. There are billions of dollars in both new spending programs and tax cuts. A large thrust of the package is increased federal aid to state governments to enable them to cope with escalating budget deficits and retain jobs.
Republicans have argued the stimulus was bloated and wouldn't solve the nation's economic woes. They said it would create new spending programs that would substantially increase the size of the federal budget deficit.
One section of the bill calls for executives at all financial firms receiving taxpayer money under a separate Wall Street rescue package to face compensation limits. The limits are more stringent than those outlined by the Obama administration, but not as tough as pay cap proposals included in the Senate's version of the stimulus plan.
The latest estimate from the nonpartisan Congressinal Budget Office revised downwards slightly the cost of the bill from $789 billion. It is less than both the House version, which would have cost $820 billion, and the Senate version that ran to $838 billion.
The bill includes a package of tax cuts worth $287 billion, spending of some $27 billion on modernizing roads and bridges, and $87 billion in outlays over the next two years to help states provide Medicaid coverage.
It will funnel more than $40 billion into clean energy and efficiency programs. One of the biggest ticket items -- at $11 billion -- is aimed at creating a "smart" grid, an artificially intelligent electricity transmission system that's necessary to more efficiently transmit electrons, especially from sources such as wind, solar and power stored in batteries.
Small businesses with yearly receipts up to $15 million will benefit from a tax break for losses. Large businesses are ineligible for that tax break.
The stimulus bill also expands financial assistance for the first time to service-sector workers who lose their jobs as a result of globalization and free trade pacts.
The widening of the program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance has been a top priority of congressional Democrats for years.
The recovery package also has provisions aimed directly at those most affected by the severe recession -- poor and unemployed Americans. It calls for a nine-month continuation of an extended unemployment benefits program scheduled to begin winding down at the end of March, helping an estimated 3.5 million jobless workers. It also provides a $25-per-week increase in unemployment benefits for 20 million jobless workers, and temporarily suspends taxes on some unemployment benefits.
Write to Corey Boles at firstname.lastname@example.org and Fawn Johnson at email@example.com