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Congress to Mesh $800 Billion Stimulus Bills

The Senate passed its measure 61-37 with the help of three Republicans who have already signaled they plan to work toward keeping more than $108 billion in spending cuts made in last week’s deal-making, reported the Associated Press.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania broke ranks and voted for the bill. The House measure passed without any Republican support.

A House and Senate conference committee will now try to resolve the differences between the two measures.

Some of the disparities between the bills include $40 billion in aid to state governments for education and other programs contained in the House version, but not the Senate’s.

The House measure also includes $2.6 billion for a first-time homebuyer tax credit, but there is an income cap. The Senate’s measure has $18.5 billion for a credit to any homebuyer, with no income cap.

Tax provisions in the Senate bill total $284.6 billion, and spending and other provisions amount to about $553.6 billion, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, according to Reuters.

The House version contains about $358 billion in emergency spending on construction projects and other investments aimed at creating jobs, and $275 billion in temporary tax cuts for workers, tax incentives to produce renewable energy and breaks for builders and other companies that would be able to write off current losses against five previous tax years, Reuters reported.

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