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U.S. Senate to vote on stimulus package later Friday or over weekend
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11:01, February 07, 2009

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday evening that the Senate will be likely to vote on an economic stimulus package later Friday night or over the weekend.

"We're going to do it, if not tonight, in the next day or so," said Reid after the White House and the key senators reached a tentative agreement on the 780-billion-dollar package.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure that this severe recession we're in does not become another Great Depression," said the leader.

Now at 780 billion dollars, the tentative deal would be smaller than the original roughly 935-billion-dollar package. Many Republican senators have said they want the total package's cost down to about 800 billion dollars.

"I think the proposal we have negotiated is a good proposal and I would we will have the votes for it," said Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat. "The art of getting things done here is compromise."

He said the details of the deal would be available later Friday and hoped there will be a vote then.

Democratic Senator Ben Nelson also confirmed that the package totals 780 billion dollars. "We trimmed the fat, fried the bacon and killed the sacred cow," he said.

Senator John Kerry said the compromise price tag would be made up of 42 percent tax cuts with 58 percent in new spending. "It's a good balance," he said.

Democrats, who have 58 of the 100 seats in the Senate, will need at least two Republican votes to avoid procedural roadblocks which could stymie the measure.

The House passed an 819-billion-dollar version of the stimulus plan last week, but no Republican voted in favor of it.

The tentative deal emerged after a long day of private negotiations and intense public debate.

Democratic Senator Kent Conrad said that he expected at least three moderate Republicans will support the economic stimulus package.

Source: Xinhua

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