- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Senate Democrats will try again tomorrow to approve their economic-stimulus package in the Finance Committee after weeks of being unable to get enough votes for their plan.
Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, yesterday rescheduled the committee action on the Democrats' $90 billion plan that includes some tax breaks, but would expand unemployment benefits and give aid to laid-off workers to pay for their health insurance costs.
"We are going to get a bill passed," Mr. Baucus told reporters. "At this point it is going to be partisan."
The Democrats devote $55 billion of their package to new spending, while Senate Republicans support an $89 billion plan that is focused mostly on tax relief for businesses. The House has approved a measure that would provide about $100 billion in tax relief in the first year.
Senate Republicans yesterday again pressured Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, to come up with a bipartisan plan.
"The Democratic leader does not want bipartisanship," said Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican. "It's just bottom line."
Mr. Daschle said Democrats tried reaching out to Republicans to strike a bipartisan deal but were rejected.
"We need to get this process under way," Mr. Daschle said.
If the committee does approve the Democrats' plan, the measure faces an uncertain prospect on the Senate floor, where it would need 60 votes to pass.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and ranking minority member of the Finance Committee, said he was "disappointed" in the likely outcome of a partisan panel vote.
"I'm left asking why we're stuck in this partisan ditch with a contentious floor fight on the horizon," Mr. Grassley wrote to Senate leaders. "There's a cost to legislating this way. The American people expect us to work together."
Republicans back a proposal to accelerate income-tax cuts from the $1.3 trillion tax-relief bill enacted earlier this year.
If the Senate does adopt a plan to help the ailing economy, lawmakers would still need to resolve differences with the House package before sending it to the president.


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