Senators Give Stimulus Plan Backroom OK

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 6, 2009 6:51 PM CST
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., left, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine talk to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – President Barack Obama moved a step closer to his first big legislative victory today as key senators tentatively agreed on an economic stimulus measure amid stunning new signs of America's economic weakness, the AP reports. Two officials said the emerging agreement was for a bill whittled down to $780 billion, but there was no immediate confirmation.

The tentative agreement capped a tense day of back-room negotiations in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, sought to attract the support of enough Republicans to give the measure the needed 60-vote majority. Senators debated the measure tonight and are expected to vote on it within days.