244-188 was the vote count that passed the package. A strong pass by most accounts with all but 11 Democrats voting in favor of the stimulus package. The problem is Republicans stood strong and held there opposition to the passage of the package unanimously. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the stimulus package. As I said earlier today, the cracks are starting to show up. Obama's frequent please for bipartisan support fell on deaf ears in the end. But will this be a sign of the future?
Has the promise of a bipartisan government for the people and of the people with the people put first already gone away? Is this the end of the honeymoon or just more political grandstanding by a party on the brink of collapse? Or is this the Democratic party showing force and command? Either way this is not a good first step for proving a strong union between the ruling parties.
The Republicans said that the stimulus package brought by the Democrats fell short on needed tax cuts and it contained far too much spending overall. Much of the spending outlined in the Dem Stimulus Package is considered wasteful by the Republicans. They went so far as to state that the package would fall far short of the new administration's predictions of job creation.
Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, said the package "won't create many jobs, but it will create plenty of programs and projects through slow-moving government spending."
The stimulus package that passed today includes $544 billion in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Money for traditional job-creating programs including highway construction and mass transit projects is in the package. The package also adds funds for unemployment benefits, health care and food stamps The additional protection is designed to help those who have been caught in the wheels of the current economic meltdown.
At the end of the day there was a last-minute addition of $3 billion for mass transit programs. Gone were the monies for the inclusion of contraceptives that had been publicised recently.
The stimulus package heart is the $500 tax break for single workers and $1,000 for couples. This tax break is also available for those who don't earn enough to owe federal income taxes.
The Republicans offered there own alternative package which was pinned on tax cuts instead of spending. The House defeated the alternative package with a vote of 266-170.
The House vote now sends the bill onto the Senate for further debate. They expect to begin the process as early as Monday on companion legislation that is already taking shape. The Democrat leaders have stated that they will have legislation ready for President Obama by mid-February.