Congressional sources say lawmakers have resolved key differences over school construction spending that had threatened to derail an earlier compromise.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Democratic leadership sources say they have worked out a way around the disagreement between the Senate and House over education funding in the economic stimulus bill.
Details on how they worked it out are not yet available, but a Democratic source said they have come up with an agreement now that everyone – House Democrats and moderate Senate Republicans – can live with.
Senators had slashed direct funding for school construction – a top priority for Democrats – and instead set aside money for governors to use on school modernization and rehabilitation. House Democrats did not believe that would ultimately be targeted enough to school districts in need.
“I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans in Congress who came together around a hard-fought compromise,” said President Barack Obama in a statement.
Obama said the plan will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs and will provide immediate tax relief to families and businesses.
“I’m grateful to the House Democrats for starting this process, and for members in the House and Senate for moving it along with the urgency that this moment demands,” said President Obama.
The deal comes after a drawn-out debate on Capitol Hill that culminated in a last-minute holdup related to the school construction issue.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that a deal had been struck earlier Wednesday afternoon. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not on hand when Reid said that the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill had been resolved.
Aides to both Pelosi, D-Calif., and Reid, D-Nev., told CNN she had given Reid the green light to make the announcement, but she apparently then heard complaints from some rank-and-file Democrats.
After Reid announced the compromise bill, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, a fellow Democrat, said it could be taken up by the two houses as early as Friday, meeting President Barack Obama’s timetable of having the bill on his desk by Presidents Day, which is Monday.