In the News
Senate Republicans are pushing proposals to focus the economic stimulus bill on addressing the faltering housing market, arguing that it remains at the root of the nation's economic troubles.
GOP senators came to the floor Wednesday to argue that lowering interest rates on mortgages and providing tax credits for buying new homes will do more to help the ailing economy than the Democratic-crafted bill on the floor, which focuses on broader spending and tax proposals designed to create jobs and put more money in the pockets of spending-shy Americans.
"Housing got us into this economic mess and housing will help get us out of this mess," said Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
Meanwhile, President Obama urged lawmakers to get a bill to him quickly, warning of dire consequences for the economy if they don't. Lawmakers should not let their differences over the plan lead to inaction, he said.
"No plan is perfect, and we should work to make it stronger," he said. "But let's not make the perfect the enemy of the essential. Let's show people all over our country who are looking for leadership in this difficult time that we are equal to the task."
Senators are reshaping the stimulus package in hopes of drawing enough votes from Republicans — and some balking Democrats — by week's end to get it into conference discussions with the House and onto Obama's desk by Presidents Day.
On Tuesday, the Senate adopted amendments that added tax breaks for buying cars and provided more funding for National Institutes of Health research, pushing the cost of the bill beyond $900 billion.