WASHINGTON, D.C. - It's a big win for Barack Obama. The House of Representatives on Friday passed the president's stimulus plan. The Senate is set to approve the package tonight.
But, the package got no house GOP votes and will get just a few in the Senate.
And the president warns that, by itself, his recovery plan can't fix the economy.
Longtime congress watchers predicted that a bunch of republicans would vote with the popular president when it came to final passage of the obama stimulus plan.
House democrats passed their stimulus bill. Proudly.
"The jobs the American people care about most, their own, will be dramatically safer the day that President Obama signs this into law said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The cost will be about 790 billion. Not counting interest.
It includes, more than 500 billion in new spending on roads & broadband, clean energy, health care.
That makes it the biggest bill ever passed!!
Republicans wanted more debate
And republicans claim the plan is polluted with un-needed pork
$8 billion for a high speed rail, $4.5 billion to convert federal buildings into "high performance green buildings, $2 billion for advanced vehicle batteries
Every republican voted no on the proposal, not one house GOP vote for the Obama plan.
All but 3 senate republican say they'll vote no
But President Obama said he appreciated bipartisan republican input and looked past today stimulus plan fight
"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," said Mr. Obama.
Tonight, the senate votes on the stimulus package.
SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY (R) REACTS -
On the floor of the U.S. Senate Alabama's Senior Senator said: "I fear this is a day that we will come to regret, not only because I believe this stimulus bill will not work, but because it will mark the day when our generation decided that we were not capable of enduring the consequences of our own actions, and therefore future generations must shoulder the burden that we could not find the courage to bear ourselves."
CONGRESSMAN ARTUR DAVIS (D) REACTS -
"This bill is expensive and in an ideal world, we would be cutting spending in anticipation of a massive deficit. But the fact is that our economy is suffering the most severe downturn since the early seventies and it will likely get worse. Our state government is facing a billion dollar shortfall even with the fiscally conservative choices we have made in Alabama. So, I have voted to act," said Congressman Davis. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, if it is administered properly by our state, will enable us to avoid dramatic cuts to our schools and colleges and our public health programs. It will provide tax credits to help responsible families buy homes and automobiles, it will help thousands of Alabamians afford college, and this bill will provide needed tax relief to small businesses all over our state."
CONGRESSMAN BOBBY BRIGHT (D) REACTS -
There is no doubt that we are in tough economic times and the American people are expecting action from Congress. They also expect us to make smart, sound, and deliberate decisions which reflect the tremendous responsibility that Americans have placed in lawmakers' hands. With this in mind, I could not vote for final passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"This bill has been rushed through Congress with little debate or opportunity to offer meaningful changes and as a result, the response from my constituents has been overwhelmingly in opposition to this bill. They have little faith that a nearly $800 billion bill will be worth its tremendous price tag. I share their concerns, and I have not been convinced that this is the right - and necessary - action to take for the future of America.
"There are certainly good provisions in the bill, such as tax relief for families and small businesses and investments in infrastructure and schools. Taken as a whole, however, I lack faith that it will stimulate the economy by saving jobs or helping Americans get back to work. If the recovery act fails to achieve its intended goals, then the only thing the American people are left with is more debt and an increased deficit. While I hope and pray that the stimulus works, I cannot in good conscience support a bill about which I have fundamental concerns and doubts.
"Though I did not support this bill, it is still my responsibility to ensure that Alabama gets its fair share of funding and projects and that taxpayer money is used for its intended purposes. I will work with my colleagues in Congress and the administration on the implementation of this legislation, and I will continue to work with members of both parties to find solutions that will help our struggling economy."
CONGRESSMAN MIKE ROGERS (R) REACTS -
"These have been a tough times for everyone across East Alabama. I understand the urgency to act, but this nearly $800 billion bill doesn't sufficiently address the short-term need to create jobs, cut taxes to keep more money in the pockets of hard working American families, or flood our economy with targeted investments.
"Congress should have come up with a bill that helps create and preserve more jobs immediately. The Democratic majority's bill has a number of features which may help Alabama like road and highway infrastructure spending, but it wasn't enough. Instead this bill was full of tremendous amounts of new government spending, which in some cases will permanently expand the size and scope of the Federal government," Rogers said.
Rogers pointed out the bill included a number of projects which would do little to create jobs in the short term. These included $2 billion for the controversial group ACORN; $1 billion for the 2010 Census; $650 million for digital television convertor box coupons; and $300 million for "green" golf carts.
"While these programs may deserve debate, they do not belong in a short-term stimulus bill. They will do little or nothing to create jobs," Rogers added.