Obama nears finish on stimulus - House, Senate votes expected
US President Barack Obama's economic recovery package was expected to clear its final hurdles Friday as both houses of Congress prepared to vote on a 789-billion-dollar compromise bill, dpa reported.
Obama, addressing business leaders at the White House, called the stimulus package a "once-in-a-generation chance to act boldly and turn adversity into opportunity."
The bill would mark Obama's first major legislative victory since taking office January 20, but it will not come with the bipartisan support his administration had originally hoped for.
Republicans have vociferously opposed the plan - the largest single spending proposal in US history - as too large and focussed on government spending rather than tax cuts that would better revive the economy. Only three conservatives were expected to support its final passage.
The House of Representatives and Senate on Wednesday announced that they had agreed on a deal that could squeeze the legislation through both houses of Congress. The final votes were expected to last well into Friday evening.
The two chambers had each passed separate versions of the legislation, with the Senate approving an 838-billion-dollar bill Tuesday and the House passing an 819-billion-dollar version last week.
Obama, who could sign the bill in the coming days, warned that the US' year-long recession was far from over despite the new injection of government funds into the world's largest economy.
"Passing this plan is a critical step," he said. "But it is only the beginning."