The Stimulus Bill Passes

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate approved the compromised stimulus bill by a vote of 60 to 38. President Obama will sign the bill into law next week. The final bill totals $787 billion and 1,100 pages.

The Washington Post reports:

“Obama pressed Democrats to include substantial tax relief favored by Republicans, including a Making Work Pay tax credit worth $400 for middle-class individuals and $800 for couples, along with a fix to the alternative minimum tax that will translate into a tax savings for upper-middle-class families.

“The package also contains numerous business breaks, including one that encourages new capital investments and another that allows small businesses to write off losses more quickly.

“Other major items went to help the neediest. A $20 billion provision will expand the food stamps program. And about $20 billion will help unemployed workers purchase health care through the employer-based COBRA system, for a period of up to nine months.

“Pell Grants for working-class college students will grow by more than $15 billion, increasing the maximum benefit by $500. A separate tax credit will further reduce college tuition costs for students whose parents earn less than $180,000 per year, or $90,000 for single-parent households.

“The stimulus also repeals a tax-rule change the Treasury Department made last fall that had been estimated to cost up to $140 billion. The change allowed banks to reduce their taxes by using the losses of companies they purchase to offset income. For several of the stronger banks that bought weaker ones last fall, the tax savings more than covered the cost of the acquisition.

“Republicans seized on dozens of narrow spending provisions that survived in the final bill, including $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts; $25 million for Smithsonian Institution maintenance; and $198 million for Filipino World War II veterans, a priority for Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii). They also took aim at $8 billion for high-speed rail investments that may include a line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, championed by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and the casino industry.”

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