House approves stimulus plan

Jan. 28, 2009 at 7:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday approved an $819 billion economic stimulus plan.

The vote was 244-188. Eleven Democratic members voted against the legislation and no Republicans voted for it, NBC News said.

The two-year stimulus package calls for $275 billion in tax cuts and more than $550 billion in spending on infrastructure such as roads and bridges, as well as development of alternative-energy, The Washington Post reported. It also provides funding for unemployment aid and funds for state and local governments

Most U.S. workers would get a tax break of up to $500, the newspaper said.

Republicans, who had been courted by Obama on behalf of the bill, were unanimous in voting no, saying it would not be effective in creating jobs or otherwise stimulating the economy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the package a down payment on Obama's promise of "bold and swift" action on the economy.

"He said he wanted action, bold and swift, and that is exactly what we are doing," Pelosi told reporters Wednesday before the House voted on the measure.

The House rejected a $475 billion Republican alternative that focused largely on reducing individual and business taxes, the Post said.

The Senate is expected to take up its own version of a stimulus package next week.

In testimony before the House Budget Committee Tuesday, Alice Rivlin, budget director for former President Bill Clinton, suggested lawmakers implement the stimulus section now and take a slower approach to build the longer-term spending components.

"Such a long-term investment program should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package," Rivlin testified.

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