WASHINGTON - House and Senate negotiators reached agreement today on a stimulus plan with a cost of about $789 billion after scaling down the versions passed by both houses, congressional leaders announced.
He said the final version "creates more jobs than the original Senate bill and spends less than the original House bill." The bill passed by the Senate yesterday totaled $838 billion. The House version approved last week had a price tag of $819 billion.
Reid said the bill would create 3.5 million jobs and fulfill President Obama's pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of American families. He said the final bill would be put to a vote on the Senate floor "in the next few days, maybe as early as tomorrow."
"This has been a give and take," Reid said, adding that "the House is part of this arrangement."
Announcement of the deal came after House and Senate negotiators, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Reid, huddled this morning to try to iron out the final details on the massive package in advance of a formal House-Senate conference this afternoon in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Room off the Senate floor. Democrats hoped the conference would produce quick agreement and set the legislation on a glide path to quick passage in the House and Senate.
In a brief appearance before reporters in the Capitol to announce the agreement, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Reid and other key senators in praising the final product.
"I'm particularly pleased that we have produced an agreement that has the top line of $789 billion," she said. "It is a fiscally responsible number that reflects our efforts to truly focus this bill on programs and policies and tax relief that will help turn our economy around, create jobs and provide relief to the families of our country."