Reuters is reporting that Harry Reid’s $56.2 Billion economic stimulus/oil shale ban bill has failed in the Senate:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Friday blocked a $56.2 billion economic stimulus package that would have extended unemployment benefits, increased food aid and funded new construction projects to create jobs.
The 52-42 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed in the 100-member Senate for Democrats to clear a Republican procedural hurdle and move toward passage of the bill, which backers said would give the ailing U.S. economy a needed boost.
The House of Representatives plans to consider a slightly different stimulus package as soon as Friday afternoon but chances of any stimulus bill becoming law appear slim as the White House has threatened a veto.
The bill would have kept in place a ban on development of domestic oil shale deposits that expires next week.
The Democratic-controlled Congress passed a $168 billion stimulus package in January that relied mostly on tax rebates to spark consumer spending.
While that measure has been credited with contributing to economic growth, consumers have been hurt by rising food and energy prices, a higher unemployment rate and continued home foreclosures.
Democrats said the second attempt would help struggling consumers at a time when Congress is considering an unpopular $700 billion Wall Street bailout shortly before the November 4 presidential and congressional elections.
“What about the honest, hard-working, play-by-the-rule citizens at the bottom of this pyramid left in the ruins after years of mismanagement and outright malpractice by the titans of the financial industry?” said Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
Republicans said they did not have time to review the spending measures properly and the White House said the increased spending could lead to higher taxes or deficits.
Update (H/T: Michelle Malkin): The house votes this afternoon… Call your Representative and urge him or her to hold the line: (202) 224-3121.