Washington — The House passed a $61 billion Democratic plan Friday to pump $56 billion in government spending into the economy through public works projects, help for the jobless and money for states struggling with their Medicaid bills.
The 264-158 victory was mostly symbolic, coming hours after the Senate killed a companion measure. The White House promised a veto anyway, saying the measure would not work and would cost too much.
The House bill would have followed up on a bipartisan plan enacted this winter to try to boost the economy through tax rebate checks. Democrats have long pressed for a follow-up plan to extend unemployment benefits, boost food stamp payments and build infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, water and sewer projects and school repairs.
During bipartisan negotiations Thursday night, two people in the room said that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was raising questions about "principles" that negotiators thought had been agreed to on Thursday.
Paulson expressed reservations about limiting pay for executives at firms that benefit from the bailout, an equity stake for taxpayers in those companies and the provision that would allow the $700 billion to be available in stages.
Paulson had indicated at hearings earlier this week that he supported some limits on executive pay, but apparently had questions about specifics.