February 11th, 2009
12:33 AM ET
14 years ago

House and Senate close in on compromise

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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/30/stimulus.next/art.capitolrotunda.gi.jpg caption="Stimulus talks lasted almost until midnight."]
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Top lawmakers and White House officials ended more than nine hours of closed-door negotiations on the economic stimulus bill shortly before midnight Tuesday indicating a final deal on the roughly $800 billion bill is possible as early as Wednesday.

“People are making progress. Drafting is taking place tonight. We’re not there yet but we made a significant amount of progress,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said as he left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office for the last time of the day.

“Everybody is doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” said White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. “Everyone knows the seriousness of the economic crisis.”

Pelosi, Reid, and Emanuel shuttled between meetings on the either side of the Capitol. The meetings included key House and Senate committee chairmen as well as the three Senate Republican moderates who voted for the bill Tuesday, giving it a slim margin of victory.

They were trying to execute a broad framework that Democratic sources tell CNN was hatched in an unpublicized White House meeting early Tuesday morning with President Obama, Reid and Pelosi.

Details began to emerge on the merging of the bills. Two senior Democratic sources said negotiators had agreed on a top line number of $800 billion but later one of those sources said the number could be even less. That would be less than either the Senate’s $838 billion bill or the House’s $819 billion.

Several sources involved tell CNN that the number is lower to satisfy the three moderate Republican senators who wanted a lower final number.

Also, Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, who chairs the Finance Committee, said that negotiators have kept a one year patch of the alternative minimum tax in the bill – something House negotiators had argued should be handled outside of the stimulus package.

A Democratic source also said a plan to give tax credits to home buyers which is in the Senate bill will likeky be scaled back to make room for House priorities and a Senate proposal to give tax incentives to people who buy American built cars is also likely to be nixed.

Asked if a deal is possible Wednesday, Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, the chairman of the finance committee said, “It’s very possible.”

Filed under: Stimulus
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. j

    Reid and Pelosi are doing a much better job now that they have a solid majority and a Democratic president who won't veto every bill. Finally, the days of Republican obstructionism are over!

    February 11, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  2. Just shut up!

    in response to the headline: crap

    February 11, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  3. Dan, TX

    Collins, Snowe, and Spector are going to be getting a lot of power and PR from their willingness to compromise. It will be nearly impossible for democrats to unseat them. I hope the republicans do spend millions to unseat them. That's good for the economy of Pennsylvania and Maine.

    February 11, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  4. S. Burns

    I'm glad they are working so hard to reach a compromise. I was very disappointed by the education cuts in the Senate bill, and hope that most of them will be restored. I think the $7500 tax credit proposed by the House is great plenty for home buyers. Most low income home buyers don't pay that much in taxes anyhow so the $15,000 tax credit would help only higher income people, and they don't really need the tax credit. What they need is a loosening up of credit. They have already made out like bandits with Bush's tax cuts.

    February 11, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  5. sandee in Portland

    I just heard they may take the 10% tax credit away for home buyers. When will these politicians learn that until they fix the housing market, they can't fix the economy. If the want the supply of homes on the market to decrease, they need to leave in the tax credit. A $15,000 tax credit that you don't have to pay back might be just enough to get people back to buying homes again, and homeowners are huge consumers who spend money on everything from hooks to hang something on to appliances and furniture.

    Nancy Pelosi needs to go jump off a log into a deep creek somewhere. As a moderate democrat, I am really tired of lthis ultra liberal woman.

    February 11, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  6. barbara miller

    Great. Now get rid of the ridiculous Palin stories and we'll call it a fresh start CNN – you continue to make her today's news with all that we're up against in our country and the world. The woman is P**sing so many of your viewers and readers off.

    February 11, 2009 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  7. John

    Finally, after 8 years of a dead beat president and administration along with their GOP congressional partners, we now have a government that cares about the ordinary people and not just the rich elite.

    Everybody I talk to recently has for the first time in a long while hope that the republican induced depression might be turned around.

    The republican desire to smash labor unions, outsource decent paying jobs and lower the living standard for middle America has come to an end.

    February 11, 2009 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  8. Michelle

    Do any of you know or even care what is in Obama's stimulus package? Have any of you read it? All you kool aide drinkers? Do you have a clue what this will do to the US? We are headed for a serious catastrophe and I'm terrified.

    You all voted for the wrong person. He doesn't know what he is doing. Who do you think is going to pay for this bill? We are. He keeps saying he inherited this economic crisis but has anyone stopped to think he was in the senate at the time? He was part of that congress that got us into this mess.

    February 11, 2009 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  9. rich

    If the only party was the democrats it would be bipartisan because they cant agree on anything.Unlike the clones the republicans represent.

    February 11, 2009 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  10. go away mongers -Ventura CA

    The NEED to act is now. It appears the gop will stay the course that dufus set for them the past eight years- Hopefully some will put Country first (doesn't that sound familiar?!)

    February 11, 2009 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  11. llim

    Good to hear that all Dems are united.
    The Repugs are also quite united.

    The fact is bipartisanship is hard to achieve due to different philosophy. No right and wrong ways but ways that each party adheres to.

    Majority still wins. Since that is the case, let the government give a try to save the economy. Doing nothing is equal to accepting a "LOSE". Doing someting may be risky but when it works, we will "WIN".

    February 11, 2009 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  12. KatchProFILMS


    February 11, 2009 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  13. S.M.R.

    I hope the final draft will be looked over closely to make sure no one added the words: " All the oversight and regulations above are null and void". SCARY!!!

    February 11, 2009 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  14. jtserb


    February 11, 2009 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  15. jaye

    Lets get 'er done!!!

    February 11, 2009 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  16. Tyler Derden

    Trust. I trust you to get it right this time. Trust is a hard thing to come by these days, but I believe in America.

    February 11, 2009 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  17. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Slash it in half. Get that pit bull to tell his boss to use up the American people's money on exactly what they plan to use it up for and on priority programs only such as infrastructure and whatever. States to need play their part in making appropriate cuts in phases as well. Consider McCains $400billion on tax cuts . Rest of long term spending to go through legislative process as suggested by Coburn. The problem is lumping the long term and short term together in the process. Recession will be harder on banks if you try to cheat again. American people were expecting the stocks to plunge yesterday after Geithner's fuzzy math. Thats how smart they are. So get to work!

    February 11, 2009 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  18. hsr0601

    Once the U.S. seeks energy liberty in an united manner, the concerns of annoying red ink, productive foreign relationship, health can be addressed at the same time and ultimately. The 'Smart Grid', digital revolution, is a sustainable flower of advanced science, I am sure. And I'm hopeful that the tax credit for auto buyer can be redirected to the Fuel-Eefficient Automobiles.

    February 11, 2009 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  19. Deb

    What the repubs don't realize the American People are not angry with Obama it's the repubs we are piss with!!! We are certain that the repubs are smoking crack and would nsist that they go to rehab but they will certainly say NO, NO, NO

    February 11, 2009 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  20. Nick

    Seriously, when are the politicans going to stop arguing and send me a check not the banks. Their bad lending habits is what out us in this situation in the first place.

    February 11, 2009 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  21. Nothing ever Changes

    No one likes this idea, myself included. At the same time I understand that we cannot set back and do nothing, I also know that tax cuts alone will not do the job nor will just spending. It is a little scary because no one really knows the right answers on this economic idea, this is new, we have never been through anything like this before.

    We can only hope that whatever ends up in this bill works, that its cost is worth it, otherwise, well I don't want to think that way but you know where I'm going. I do not blame Bush or any party, I blame all of us, we let our spending and greed overtake our common sense. Now we are paying the price and it is a strange since of irony that our first ever black President is the one who is saddled with fixing the problem that has been decades in the making.

    President Obama's words may haunt all of us for many years to come, he said this is a defining moment in American History. So the question is, how do we define ourselves, as Americans or as Republicans and Democrats. Do we let political ideology, bigotry and hatred define us or do we choose to define ourselves as one country, one people, under one Grand Old Flag. This is no longer a simple argument between political parties, this is about all of us and the continued survival of this great country we all love.

    I firmly believe we are one people, one country, standing side by side under the same Grand Old Flag. As long as we hold true to the ideals of our founders that, "we are one country, under God, with liberty and justice for all." we will never fail and we will continue to be that shining beacon on the hill, I believe it was President Reagan who said that and it is so very true. Sorry for rambling I will end it here.

    February 11, 2009 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  22. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    In a perfect world, compromise would make both sides happy: In this partisan political world, neither side will be happy.

    Tough: The bill won't be perfect but the country has to start somewhere. Much better than the Republican's sad, tired, chant of "trickle down" and "tax cuts" – which is why the country is in a recession. The GOP wants to do nothing since its easier to carp & complain than to create solutions. I'm ashamed at the GOP for now working against those 3 moderates, who, putting their country first, are now "the enemy" ... Republicans can't stand independent thinking, or thinking at all. That's why the GOP thinks aid to education is "pork". Wouldn't want educated voters, now would they!

    February 11, 2009 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  23. Together Each Accmplishes More

    The Republicans should note that if they want any of their ideas included, if the GOP wants to be relevant, the only way is through compromise.

    February 11, 2009 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  24. Big Al C.

    Let's hope the republican senators feel the effects of this vote come 2010. They could not be pleased without more tax cuts for Exxon oil who made record profits last year. Will the Amercian people ever quit voting these theives into office? The republicans continue to strive to take away our freedoms to keep us safe for the insurance companies.

    The state governments would be in a world of hurt if the cigarette and liquor taxes ended for the states. Kentucky is a prime example let the republicans put a stop to all the sale of tabacco and spirits. The state could not function without the taxes. And the republicans are only interested in how they can put money in the hands of the wealthy. And keeping the insurance companies free from their responsibilities.

    February 11, 2009 05:10 am at 5:10 am |