Monday, February 9, 2009

Senate stimulus bill ready for final vote tomorrow

The Senate version of the stimulus bill cleared its main hurdle a few minutes ago with 61 senators voting for the compromise deal amendment. This means that the Senate can hold the final vote on its bill tomorrow. Then the House and Senate bills move on to a conference committee where the real horsetrading begins. Once the conference committee issues its final "report" for the bill, the House and Senate each hold one final vote to approve the final conference bill that will be sent to President Obama for his signature.

It is unclear at this time what House items might be added back or what Senate items might be removed. That will be a matter for the House and Senate leaders to negotiate, not to mention the three Republican senators whose votes are needed to pass the final bill in the Senate.

The bill remains a cross between an over-decorated Christmas tree and an over-stuffed sausage, but that is about how it started out in the House anyway. The final trimming and stuffing will not occur until Wednesday and Thurdsday when the House and Senate bills are reconciled by the conference committee.

-- Jack Krupansky

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