US stimulus bill set for final vote

House and senate finalise details of economic plan and will vote on it on Friday.

    The two chambers of congress are to vote on the bill on Friday [GALLO/GETTY]

    The plan was finalised after marathon talks between house and senate negotiators from the Republican and Democratic parties.

    Disaster warning

    Obama wants congress to pass the bill before February 16 so he can sign it into law, warning the US faces economic "disaster" otherwise.

    In depth
    Republicans, and some moderate Democrats, had argued that previous versions of the package had been too large and did not provide enough tax cuts.

    Obama, meanwhile, was expected to visit the town of Peoria, Illinois, where he will visit a factory owned by Caterpillar.

    The firm, which recently announced plans to shed up to 20,000 jobs, said it could rehire some of the workers if the package was passed.

    Obama has said the stimulus package could create up to four million jobs at a time when US unemployment levels are reaching their highest levels in decades.

    Sales rise

    The current version is split 36 per cent for tax cuts and 64 per cent in spending on construction projects and other provisions, just below the 40/60 split Obama had requested.

    It comes as US retail sales rose unexpectedly in January, gaining one per cent after six consecutive months of decline, the US commerce department said on Thursday.

    Analysts say that higher fuel prices and aggressive discounts in new year sales by companies have contributed to the rise, and that the upward trend is unlikely to last.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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