Washington: President Barack Obama’s signature attempt to kick-start the stricken US economy risks running into a Republican wall in the Senate this week, a top opposition senator said on Monday.
Jon Kyl, the Republican’s second-ranking Senate member, said the party would flex its muscles by stalling the $819-billion stimulus package without a fundamental rethink of the bill’s mix of spending and tax cuts.
“I think that we would all agree there will be a 60-vote requirement for the bill. That’s the end result of a filibuster,” he said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to a parliamentary tactic to drag out debate indefinitely.
To overcome a Republican filibuster, the Democrats would need to amass 60 votes to shut down debate and bring the bill to a vote. Obama’s party can now count on 58 votes to the Republicans’ 41, with one seat still unresolved.
As the Senate prepared to take up the stimulus bill tomorrow, Kyl added, “Our effort is not to delay the bill. We understand the urgency of the situation.
“When I say ‘start from scratch,´ what I mean is that the basic approach of this bill we believe is wrong.”
Republicans, accusing the Democratic majority in Congress of shutting them out of debate, have so far resisted a charm offensive from the new president as he battles to haul the US economy out of recession.
Last Wednesday the House of Representatives approved the gargantuan package without a single Republican vote.
Negotiations were carrying on through the weekend, as Obama invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the White House to watch tonight’s Super Bowl, the climax to the American football season.