The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an $819 billion economic stimulus package backed by President Barack Obama. The House voted 244 to 188 to pass the bill late Wednesday.
At the White House, Mr. Obama said most of the money in the package will be used immediately and go directly to efforts to save or create three million to four million new jobs.
Republicans had pushed a counter-proposal that contained more tax cuts. House minority leader John Boehner told reporters the president's plan contained what he said was too much wasteful spending.
Mr. Obama acknowledged skepticism about the size and scale of the package, but said it would include measures that will allow Americans to hold his administration accountable. The legislation offers funding for numerous domestic projects, and includes 275 billion dollars in tax cuts.
Mr. Obama discussed the stimulus package Wednesday with a group of chief executive officers of major companies.
In other news, a key Senate panel approved its version of the bill after adding another $70 billion in tax cuts, bringing the total cost of the plan close to $900 billion. But the House and the Senate will have to reconcile their versions of the bill before Mr. Obama can sign it into law.
Expand Medicaid: $87bn
Help state governments: $79bn
Help school districts: $41bn
Higher unemployment benefits: $36bn
Rebuild roads: $30bn
Computerise medical records: $20bn
Green electricity grid: $11bn
Source: House Appropriations Committee