Senate passes stimulus. Next step is conference with House
An $838 billion economic recovery package cleared the Senate on Tuesday in a 61 to 37 vote.
The package provides for roughly $293 billion in tax relief and $546 billion for spending measures, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Senate bill is not the last stage in the process. The next step will be for a committee of representatives from the Senate and the House to reconcile the differences between each chamber’s proposed economic recovery package. The House passed an $820 billion two weeks ago, with $182 billion in tax relief and $638 billion in spending.
In some cases, the Senate contains measures that don’t appear in the House bill. Among them, three tax amendments. One would protect middle- and upper middle-income families from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax. Two others offer new temporary tax breaks for individuals who buy a home or car this year.
In cases where the House and Senate offer identical spending or tax measures, they may differ in scope.
For instance, both bills offer President Obama’s Make Work Pay Credit, but the income thresholds below which one may qualify for the full $500 per worker ($1,000 per two-earner couple) differ. The Senate would limit the full credit to those making $70,000 or less ($140,000 for couples). The House puts those thresholds at $75,000 and $150,000.