At Last

Stimulus Passes

Another long day for the stimulus bill, but this time, with closure: After compromises, heated debate, two votes in the House and two votes in the Senate, President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan is now ready to be signed into law. The revised bill passed through the House early Friday without a single Republican vote, then entered the Senate where voting began at 5:30 p.m. and didn't finish until after 11, when Sherrod Brown, who had been attending his mother's wake in his home state of Ohio, arrived fresh off the airplane to cast his "yea." Brown's vote was necessary to end the Senate's debate on the stimulus and push it onto Obama's desk for signing. Though the stimulus' first version passed the Senate with 61 votes, Ted Kennedy could not attend the second vote, temporarily reducing Senate support for the bill and forcing Brown's return. Obama is expected to sign the bill—his first big legislative accomplishment and a sharp break from the previous administration's economic policy—at a public ceremony on Monday.