The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday afternoon to approve a $146 billion fiscal stimulus package, hoping to quickly seal a fast-paced deal with the Bush administration. But Senate Democrats forged ahead with their own, more expensive plan despite a rising chorus of warnings from the White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they risk delaying much-needed help for the economy and could plunge the nation too far in debt.
The House vote was 385 to 35, with 169 Republicans joining 216 Democrats voting “yes.” Voting against the package were 10 Democrats and 25 Republicans.
The Senate plan, put forward by Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, the Finance Committee chairman, would cost $160.5 billion in 2008. After 10 years, the total cost would be somewhat lower at $151 billion, compared with $117 billion a year for the House plan. Both proposals include individual tax rebates and business tax incentives, and one-time payments for those who do not pay income taxes. The Senate plan also includes an extension of unemployment benefits.
House leaders complained that while their plan would deny tax rebates to the wealthiest earners, the Senate package would not have any caps, meaning that lawmakers themselves would qualify for payments.