>US house passes $819-billion stimulus bill

>IN a strictly party-line vote, lawmakers approve Obama’s plan that expands jobless benefits, cuts taxes and spends on infrastructure, energy and education.
Reporting from Washington — In the first major test of President Obama’s ability to push his ambitious agenda through Congress, the House on Wednesday approved the largest attempt since World War II to use the federal budget to redirect the course of the nation’s economy, Janet Hook writes in the LA Times.
Obama had worked hard to gain bipartisan support for the $819-billion stimulus package, beginning to negotiate possible compromises with Republicans even before entering the White House. But the measure passed on a strict party-line vote, 244 to 188. Not a single Republican supported the bill, and only 11 out of 255 Democrats opposed it.
The real test is whether the president’s plan helps halt what has threatened to become an economic death spiral. The answer to that question will come not from Washington, but in cities, neighborhoods and rural areas across the country as the bill’s impact becomes clear among workers, employers, and state and local governments.
Despite Wednesday’s partisan outcome, the president praised the House vote and urged quick action in the Senate. “What we can’t do is drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way,” Obama said. “We must move swiftly and boldly to put Americans back to work, and that is exactly what this plan begins to do.”
Related report:
Stimulus would bring welcome relief to California


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