Thursday, February 05, 2009

Reid claims Democrats have enough votes to overcome GOP filibuster on stimulus bill

This is from The

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Thursday that he has enough votes to pass a more than $900 billion stimulus bill out of the Senate.

Reid said he believes at least two Republicans of "good will" would support the Democratic-crafted package.

"Do we have the votes? We believe we do," said Reid, who expects a final vote on the package will be held on Thursday.

It appears the stimulus would attract only a few GOP votes, however, and Senate Democratic leaders distanced themselves from earlier hopes that the economic recovery could draw more Republican support.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, said the notion of attracting 80 votes for the package in the Senate is a "distant memory."

"We'd rather pass a good bill with 65 votes," said Schumer.

Democratic leaders also cast doubt on an effort negotiated by centrists such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) to strip as much as $200 billion from the bill.

Schumer said a price tag of $650 billion, which Collins supports for the package, is inadequate.

"If they think they're going to rewrite this bill, President Obama is going to walk away," said Reid, when asked about efforts by about 20 centrists to lop off $100 billion to $200 billion from the cost of the package.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said such a large cut in the bill’s size would cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs.

We will see if Harry Reid is correct very soon. The Senate should be voting on this bill either tonight, or tomorrow.

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