The House passed the $819 billion stimulus bill yesterday, but the weeks of attempts to get bipartisan support behind the package failed. Not a single Republican voted in favor.
The bill passed by a vote of 244 to 188, with 11 Democrats crossing the aisle to oppose the bill. The GOP's firm opposition comes as a disappointment for the new administration, which had emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in the process. President Obama himself held a closed-door meeting with Republican legislators on Tuesday to try to win their backing.
In a statement, however, Obama said he was "grateful" for the House passage. "There are many numbers in this plan," his statement said. "But of all these numbers, there is one that matters most to me: This recovery plan will save or create more than 3 million new jobs over the next few years."
There may be more bipartisan support for the bill in the Senate, however, where the Senate Finance Committee added $70 billion to the tax cuts portion of the package. And some Republicans who voted against the bill in the House have said they may support it if some of their worries about the amount of spending in the bill are addressed.
The House stimulus bill includes $275 billion in tax cuts and nearly $545 billion in spending. During the debate, $3 billion was added to the bill for mass transit. Another amendment that was added expanded the bill's whistleblower protections, which had applied to only state and local whistleblowers in the original version, to include federal employees.
The bill will be debated in the Senate next week.
- Read more news about the stimulus.