ARE THE VOTES THERE?…. Yesterday, the conventional wisdom said the votes to pass an economic stimulus package may not be there. Today, we’re hearing a very different message.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Thursday that he has enough votes to pass a more than $900 billion stimulus bill out of the Senate.
Reid said he believes at least two Republicans of “good will” would support the Democratic-crafted package.
“Do we have the votes? We believe we do,” said Reid, who expects a final vote on the package will be held on Thursday. […]
Democratic leaders also cast doubt on an effort negotiated by centrists such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) to strip as much as $200 billion from the bill.
Now, the caveats are pretty obvious. Reid said he “believes” the votes are there, but that’s not quite iron clad. Just as importantly, it’s not at all clear what kind of concessions were necessary to cross the 60-vote threshold. TPM, for example, obtained a staff paper circulated today with nearly $78 billion in cuts, with a lot less money for states, healthcare, and education. Did the Democratic leadership sign off on these cuts? (Maybe.)
Nevertheless, the buzz from the Hill suggests it’s close to coming together. President Obama is reportedly telling members of both parties that he thinks the bill will clear the Senate by late tomorrow.