Negotiators for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have
reached agreement on a $789 billion dollar economic stimulus package,
paving the way for final congressional votes.
At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Senate (Democratic) Majority Leader Harry Reid said the compromise legislation should create 3.5 million jobs once it takes effect. He said the legislation is the result of heavy compromises.
Moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Arlen Specter were among those speaking in favor of the bill. Collins said the bill is "fiscally responsible," while Specter said the seriousness of the situation required decisive action.
But House Republican leader John Boehner said the measure should have more tax cuts and less government spending.
President Barack Obama has been pressing for the package. He said Wednesday the plan is urgent and essential.
While visiting a construction site in (the eastern state of) Virginia, just outside Washington, Mr. Obama warned the nation faces a "catastrophe" if the federal government does not take bold action quickly.
House and Senate negotiators had been working on a compromise since the two bodies passed differing versions of the stimulus package.
Congressional leaders hope to have a final measure ready for President Obama's signature by next week.