Senate passes Economic Recovery Plan in 61-37 vote

The U.S. Senate has passed the much-anticipated economic stimulus bill in a 61-37 vote, but now the proposed plan must make its way through what will be tough House-Senate negotiations.

According to an Associated Press report, only three Republicans helped pass the bill with their vote, and they are already putting up a fight to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in the Senate.

The cuts (for a list of what was cut, click here) are the major differences between the $819 billion House version of President Barack Obama’s plan and a Senate bill that would cost $838 billion, according to the AP report.

Republican opponents say the bill is too costly and unlikely to have the desired effect on the economy, according to the report. “This is a spending bill, not a stimulus bill,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn).

Despite strong Republican opposition, Democrats are vowing to have the bill to President Obama by the weekend, the AP reports.

“There is no reason we can’t do this by the end of the week,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), according to the AP.  Reid said he was prepared to hold the Senate in sessioI into the President’s Day weekend if necessary, and cautioned Republicans not to try and delay final progress, according to the news agency.