Stimulus Bill Passes Congress

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Less than a month in office, President Barack Obama has scored a key legislative win. A $787 billion stimulus bill has cleared Congress.

It's hoped the massive package will help stave off the effects of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

It cleared the Senate 60 to 38.

Friday night's winning vote came just before 11 p.m. when Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown voted "aye." The vote had been held open so that Brown could attend his mother's memorial in Ohio. Three Republican moderates sided with Democrats in the Senate. But earlier in the House, Republican opposition was unanimous.

Supporters say the legislation could save or create 3.5 million jobs. But Republicans complain the legislation is weighed down with spending.

The legislation is among the costliest ever considered in Congress. It provides billions of dollars to aid victims of the recession through such things as unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care and job retraining. It also sends aid to the states, and includes tax cuts, which Democrats say will help 95% of all Americans.

The measure will be signed into law in a few days by the president, who is spending the holiday weekend back in Chicago.

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