Stimulus Package

February 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
President Obama said his stimulus package must pass soon in order to keep the economic crisis from becoming a national catastrophe.A final vote is still days away but the senate held a special weekend session to hammer out the details of a compromise.

It was a working weekend at the Capitol. Senators returned to Capitol Hill for a rare Saturday session to continue debate but not to vote on President Obama's economic stimulus package.

Sen. John Kerry, (D) Massachusetts said, "If we don't keep people in their homes this is going to get worse."

A bipartisan group of Republican senators came together Friday night to agree on a compromise $780-billion dollar plan they hope will satisfy both sides.

Sen. Susan Collins, (R) Maine said "It demonstrates to the American people that at a time of crisis we can work together."

The cost of stimulus has changed dramatically in less than a month. From the $775 billion proposed by President Obama, to the $819 billion approved by the house, to $920 billion in an early Senate version, back down to $780 billion. In his weekly address President Obama ratcheted up the rhetoric, insisting congress must pass the bill quickly to help stop the growing recession.

Obama said, "If we don't move swiftly to put this plan in motion, our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe. Millions of Americans will lose their jobs, their homes, and their health care. Millions more will have to put their dreams on hold."

President Obama campaigned as a uniter who promised to work with both parties to get things done. Some analysts said he got off to a shaky start.

George Will, an ABC News political analyst said, "President Obama came to town promising to end business as usual and in his first act with this bill is to provoke an unusually grotesque eruption of business as usual.

The senate has scheduled a test vote on the compromise plan Monday. If that get the 60 votes they need to move forward, on Tuesday Democratic leaders plan to schedule a vote on the final bill.

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