Senate follows House, passes President Barack Obama's stimulus bill
BY Michael Mcauliff
NY Daily News
February 13, 2009
WASHINGTON - President Obama won final passage of his historic $787 billion economic rescue package Friday night, but he lost his push to make it a two-party solution, with almost no Republicans backing it.
In passing the largest-ever measure of its kind, Democrats hailed the mix of tax cuts and spending on education, transportation, health care and many other needs as a desperately needed boost for the economy.
Republicans bashed it as a poorly conceived boondoggle that will burden future generations with debt, and was rammed down their throats.
"A bill that was supposed to be all about jobs, jobs, jobs has turned into a bill that's all about spending, spending, spending," said House Republican leader John Boehner, tossing the 1,110-page document to the floor in a show of disgust.
Obama, who is expected to sign the measure early next week, hailed its passage in a speech to business leaders, but cautioned that no one should expect the massive effort to pay quick dividends.
"As important as it is, it's only the beginning of what I think all of you understand is going to be a long and difficult process of turning our economy around," Obama told the Business Council, a group founded by Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
"And this work will not be easy," Obama warned. "Our recovery will likely be measured in years and not months."
Obama had reached out to Republicans, but all voted no when the House passed the measure 246-183.
Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King, who is considering a Senate run, said he opposed the bill because "there's just too much spending, and it's too unfocused."
Three Republicans crossed the aisle in the Senate, where the measure passed with 60 votes after Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown returned from his mother's wake.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer mocked GOP claims that Democrats committed "generational theft" by piling on debt.
"The GOP was a borrow-and-spend party for each of the eight years that President Bush was in office - they doubled the national debt," he said.
"It's okay [with Republicans] to spend money on tax cuts for the very wealthy, but not to help the middle class with health care and education and transportation," Schumer said.