Senators Appear to Have a Deal on Stimulus

Posted February 6, 2009 at 5:06pm

Bipartisan negotiators appear to have reached a compromise on cutting just over $100 billion from the Senate economic stimulus bill, but the plan needs to be vetted with rank-and-file Democrats before an official deal can be announced. Senate Democrats convened a special caucus meeting to discuss the compromise at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Aides said the rough outlines of the deal would pare the package from nearly $920 billion to $780 billion through a combination of cuts to overall government spending and a reduction in the amount of tax cuts in the measure. If a deal is reached, Democrats expect at least three Republicans to join them in passing a bill. It was unclear if a vote could be held on either the amendment or the bill as a whole on Friday night, given that some Republicans were expected to request additional debate time. “There’s a sense that progress has been made,” Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said. “There’s enough to talk about with the caucus.” The Senate will begin voting on amendments to the measure around 7 p.m. A vote on final passage could occur after that if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) believes he has the necessary votes. “We’re going to have votes later tonight. I apologize for having nothing more definite than that, but at this time that’s all I can do,” Reid said in a brief floor statement.