Congress, White House reach compromise on $790B stimulus

By David Espo

WASHINGTON – Moving with lightning speed, Congress and the White House agreed Wednesday on a compromise $790 billion economic stimulus bill designed to create millions of jobs in a nation reeling from recession. President Barack Obama could sign the measure within days.

“More than one-third of this bill is dedicated to providing tax relief for middle-class families, cutting taxes for 95 percent of American workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a Capitol news conference.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., initially withheld public approval in a lingering dispute over federal funding for schools. But her spokesman, Brendan Daly, said more than two hours after Reid’s announcement, “We are moving forward with this legislation, which will create or save more than 3 million jobs.”

Obama estimated 3.5 million jobs in his own celebration of the agreement. He said it would “get our economy back on track.”

The emerging legislation is at the core of Obama’s economic recovery program.

It includes help for victims of the recession in the form of expanded unemployment benefits, food stamps, health coverage and more, as well as billions for states that face the prospect of making deep cuts in school aid and other programs

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Ben Feller contributed to this report