The Senate today passed a massive $838 billion economic stimulus package while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave only scant details on the next step of the financial bailout package.
Wall Street was not impressed as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell sharply, down over 300 points by mid-afternoon.
Three Republican senators – Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania – joined with the Democratic majority in passing the stimulus package on a 61-37 vote.
The bill will now have to be reconciled with a House version that relied more on spending programs and less on tax cuts than the Senate bill. No Republicans voted on the bill in the House.
The three Republican senators who voted with the Democrats were promptly targeted by the National Republican Trust PAC. The political action committee said it would seek defeat Sen. Specter in the 2010 elections by financially backing his primary opponent.
“Sen. Specter voted for the so-called stimulus bill, mortgaging the future of Pennsylvania’s children and grandchildren” said Scott Wheeler, executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC. “This bill will do nothing to help the millions of Americans who need a job, want to buy a home, want to start a business – in other words it will do nothing to really stimulate the economy. It will just line the pockets of liberal political hacks to whom the Democratic Party is beholden. Sen. Specter and other Republicans who voted for this travesty will be held accountable.”
Geithner left unexplained many of the details on how he would proceed spending the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Recovery Plan (TARP) started under President Bush.
The plan includes a new public-private partnership that would seek to unclog the credit markets by buying up toxic securities.