The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 61-37 to approve an $838 billion stimulus package.
The Senate version differs significantly from the $819 billion measure the House of Representatives passed almost two weeks ago, and the two versions will need to be reconciled before President Obama can sign the legislation.
Deborah Lutterbeck reports from Washington.
The U.S. Senate passed a controversial $838 billion bill aimed at shoring up the nation's ailing economy.
The vote sets the stage for tough negotiations over the final size and scope of spending and tax cuts aimed at reversing the deep recession.
With little Republican support, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 61-37 to approve the package. The Senate version differs significantly from the $819 billion measure the House of Representatives passed almost two weeks ago.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
SOUNDBITE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying (English):
"Not one single American family relishes the choice we have to make, but when we have a growing likelihood that this crisis will grow into what the President has termed a possible catastrophe, the worst decisions would be indecision."
But that's not how the majority of Republicans see it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
SOUNDBITE: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying (English):
"The President was right to call for a stimulus but this bill misses the mark It is full of waste, we have no assurances that it will create jobs or revive the economy. The only thing we know for sure is that it increases the debt."
The White House wants the final bill by this weekend, meaning negotiators from both sides must now begin haggling over what the final package will look like.
Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.
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