U.S. lawmakers are lashing out at a nearly $900 billion plan to boost the failing economy.

The Senate minority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, says Tuesday the country needs to "sober up" - saying the plan requires the government to spend too much money on programs that do not create jobs.

The Senate is voting on amendments to the package today.

Earlier, President Barack Obama called on lawmakers to act with the "same sense of urgency" most Americans feel every day as they struggle to overcome economic problems.  He promised that the plan will allow the government to boost the failing economy "swiftly" and "wisely."

The Senate majority leader, Democrat Harry Reid, says lawmakers are "moving forward," and that there is a bipartisan effort under way to pare down some of the spending provisions.

Already, Democrats have agreed to drop two controversial programs $400 million to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and $75 million for anti-smoking campaigns.

The Senate debate comes as the president is conducting several television interviews to promote the economic stimulus package.

President Obama told lawmakers Monday to not let "modest differences" delay passage of the measure. 

A version of the bill was approved in the House of Representatives last week, without a single Republican voting in favor of it.

The Obama administration also is talking to key officials of other nations about the economic crisis.  Officials say Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently consulted by phone with officials in China, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Canada. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.