An $838 billion economic stimulus bill backed by the White House narrowly advanced in the Senate on Monday over strong Republican opposition, and Democratic leaders vowed to deliver the emergency legislation for President Barack Obama's signature within a few days.
The vote was 61-36, one more than the 60 needed to move the measure toward Senate passage on Tuesday. That in turn, will set the stage for possibly contentious negotiations with the House on a final compromise on legislation the president says is desperately needed to tackle the worst economic crisis in more than a generation.
The Senate vote occurred as the Obama administration moved ahead on another key component of its economic recovery plan. Officials said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would outline rules on Tuesday for $350 billion in bailout funds designed to help the financial industry as well as homeowners facing foreclosure.
As for the stimulus, Obama said Monday night at the start of his televised news conference, "I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans."