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Special> Global Financial Crisis> Latest
UPDATED: February 10, 2009
U.S. Senate Decides to Put Stimulus Bill to Final Vote
The new president's goal is to pump most of the 827 billion dollars into the economy quickly

The U.S. Senate on Monday decided via a key procedural vote to put a massive economic stimulus plan to the final vote scheduled for Tuesday.

The vote result was 61-36, just one more than the 60 minimum supporting votes needed. The 827-billion-dollar package is now ready for a final Senate vote on Tuesday.

The package, smaller than the original roughly 935-billion-dollar one, was similar to the 819-billion-dollar bill passed in the House last month.

President Barack Obama hopes the expansive stimulus plan will create or save 3 million to 4 million American jobs and help revive the economy, which has been in a worsening recession since December 2007.

The new president's goal is to pump most of the 827 billion dollars into the economy quickly.

The approval came after more than a week of private negotiations and intense public debate, as the Democrats tried very hard to win the support of enough Republicans to move the package toward a final Senate vote.

Obama stepped up his pressure on Congress to act swiftly in the past several days.

"Doing nothing is not an option," said Obama during a visit to Elkhart, Indiana where unemployment has passed 15 percent.

"Our nation will sink into a crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse," warned the president, who will address the nation in the first prime-time news conference of his presidency late Monday to seek public support.

Democrats, who have 58 of the 100 seats in the Senate, need at least two Republican votes to avoid procedural roadblocks which could stymie the measure.

The House of Representatives passed the 819-billion-dollar version of the stimulus plan last month, but no Republican voted in favor of it.

Just before the Monday voting began, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he would offer five words to Americans: "Help is in the way."

Deeply divided, Senate Democrats also summoned Senator Edward Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer in Florida, to the Capitol Hill to make a crucial vote of support.

(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2009)

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