Senate struggles on stimulus in nighttime session
In an uncertain reach across party lines, Senate moderates struggled for a compromise on economic stimulus legislation Thursday as the government spit out grim new jobless figures and President Barack Obama warned of more bad news ahead.
With partisan tensions rising, several Republican attempts to remake the bill — with higher tax cuts, lower spending and fresh relief for homeowners — failed on party-line votes.
“This is the moment for leadership that matches the great test of our time,” Obama said Thursday night as the Senate plodded through a fourth day of debate on the legislation at the heart of his economic recovery plan. Earlier, he declared, “The time for talk is over. The time for action is now.”
The president added he would “love to see additional improvements” in the bill, a gesture to the moderates from both parties who were at work trying to trim the bill with a newly recalculated, $937 billion price tag.
After fitful, secretive talks lasting well into the evening, the would-be compromisers remained shy of agreement, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced they could have another day to work at it.