The Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate and some Republicans have reached a compromise on a huge package to help stimulate the battered U.S. economy -- even as job losses mount.
Senators from both parties announced the deal, and they say they have enough votes to approve the package in the Senate.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the measure could be approved within the next few days. During the negotiations, senators reduced the cost of the bill from 937 billion to 780 billion dollars. Lawmakers said the changes won the support of a small number of moderate Republican senators who were needed to pass the measure. Many Republicans complained that the previous bill contained too much spending and too little tax cuts.
Earlier in the day, President Obama urged the Senate to pass the stimulus bill, saying it would be "inexcusable and irresponsible" to delay while millions of Americans are losing their jobs.
Mr. Obama said three-point-six million jobs in the United States have been lost since the recession began. He said the time to act is now, describing what he called an "urgent and growing crisis" that could turn into a "catastrophe." Mr. Obama on Friday acknowledged that the bill is not perfect, but said it is the right size and scope and has the right priorities to create jobs and lay the groundwork for long-term growth.
Any Senate bill that is passed must be reconciled with an earlier version approved by the House of Representatives before being sent to President Obama for his signature.