Senate Passes Stimulus Bill

The Senate passed its version of the economic stimulus bill yesterday by a vote of 61 - 37.  This bill at an estimated $838 billion is slightly larger than the version the House passed last week. The Senate version contains less spending than the House bill, however, dedicating about 40 percent of the bill to tax cuts as oppose to about a third in the House version.  House and Senate leadership will now begin the negotiations to hammer out the differences between the two bills.

Total spending on transportation in the two bills is nearly identical at about $45 billion. The Senate bill contains $3 billion less for highways ($27 billion) and nearly $2 billion less for aviation ($1.3 B). The two bills both contain $1.1 billion for intercity rail. The Senate version adds an additional $2 billion for the development of high speed rail in federally designated corridors.

Senate and House leadership said they would like to have the final bill ready for the President to sign by the end of the week.