The U.S. Senate is holding an unusual Saturday session to consider a
massive proposal to stimulate the nation's economy. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate
agreed on a scaled-back plan late Friday.
totals about $780 billion, about $110 billion less than the plan
Democrats had been promoting. Senate leaders say they have the votes
to pass it.
President Barack Obama, in his weekly address, is
praising lawmakers for reaching the compromise, and urges them to act
quickly to pass the bill.
"The scale and scope of this plan is
right, and the time for action is now," he said. "Because if we do not
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."
Republican leaders still say the plan
is wasteful and too expensive, and is not likely to work. Some
Democrats have also called for less spending. Republican National
Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in his party's Saturday response,
says cutting Americans' taxes would be a more effective way to
stimulate the economy.
"But the Democrats have a different
philosophy," he said. "Instead of leaving money in the family
checkbook, they want to send it to Washington, run it through a slow
and inefficient government, and hope that does some good."
President Obama says numerous tax cuts during the Bush administration did little to help the U.S. economy.
be clear," he said. "We cannot expect relief from the tired old
theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw
our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first
If the bill passes the Senate, a conference committee
will work out the differences between this legislation and a version
that passed the House of Representatives in January, and will send it
to Mr. Obama for his signature. The House bill totaled $819 billion,
and did not receive a single Republican vote.