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Senate passes stimulus plan

The United States Senate approved the $838 billion economic stimulus plan on Tuesday reported the BBC.

The stimulus bill was passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate by a vote of 61-37, with the crucial support of 3 Republicans. Intense talks and negotiations now begin to merge the Senate bill and the version the House of Representatives passed last week.

President Obama says the stimulus bill will create some 4 million jobs and jumpstart the economy. He has called to have the final bill on his desk by Feb. 16 and said that today's vote was a good start.

"We've still got to get the House bill and the Senate bill to match up before it gets sent to my desk, so we have a little more work to do over the next couple of days,"said Obama.

The New York Times reports that officials have said that negotiations were on the fast track to possibly have the legislation completed by the end of the week.

“You are in the legislative branch,?said White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. “Anything is possible." He added, "Everybody knows the seriousness of the economic crisis.?

Along with Emanunel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and other senators close to the stimulus bill worked through the night to reconcile the two versions of the bill.

“We’re not there," Reid told the New York Times, "but we have made a significant amount of progress in the last 10 hours."

BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7882143.stm
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/us/politics/11obama.html?_r=1&hp