Senate Clears Path for Vote on $838 Billion Stimulus – NYTimes.com

Republicans voting for the bill were Susan Collins, Olympia J. Snowe and Arlen Specter.

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

Published: February 9, 2009

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Monday advanced the $838 billion economic stimulus bill, clearing a major procedural hurdle by a razor thin margin with the help of just three Republicans. A vote on final passage of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

The Senate vote, by 61 to 36, to close debate on the stimulus, symbolized the partisanship that still grips Congress despite President Obama’s call for new cooperation. It also highlighted the rising power of the centrist Republicans who cast the critical votes. Under Senate rules, it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture and usher a bill to a vote.

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