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Congress: Tonight's stimulus vote

The Washington Post previews the House vote on the stimulus. "The House is scheduled to vote tonight on an $825 billion stimulus proposal aimed at creating 4 million jobs and giving individuals and businesses an infusion of cash. The bill includes $275 billion in tax cuts and $550 billion in spending on roads and bridges, alternative-energy development, health-care technology, unemployment assistance, and aid to states and local governments. The Senate is expected to consider a separate bill next week. Last night, the Finance and Appropriations committees passed parts of the stimulus bill that total about $888 billion, clearing the way for debate to begin in the full chamber."

Echoing NBC's Mike Viqueira on First Read yesterday, The Hill notes, "President Obama's trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to sell his economic stimulus package won style points but few GOP votes."

Republicans also live-Twittered Obama's appearance on the Hill as well as passing to news organizations (us) minute-by-minute accounts.

Covering Obama's meetings yesterday with congressional Republicans, the New York Times notes that the president is open to some compromises on the stimulus. "In a session with House Republicans, Mr. Obama said he would not compromise on a central element of his plan that has drawn particular Republican opposition: his campaign promise for a middle-class tax credit that would also go to low-wage workers who earn too little to pay income taxes but are subject to payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare… But, Republicans interviewed after the meeting said, Mr. Obama told them he would listen to proposals to expand on provisions cutting taxes for small businesses and would be open to corporate tax cuts as well if Republicans cooperated to close tax loopholes for big business."

"Democrats said Mr. Obama could also support a demand from a senior Senate Republican, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, to add a provision adjusting the alternative minimum tax so that it does not hit millions of middle-class taxpayers this year. That would add costs of nearly $70 billion over 10 years to a package that Republicans already say is too big." 

The Washington Post says that some Democrats are voicing their own complaint about the stimulus: "that the plan may fall short in its broader goal of transforming the American economy over the long term." But isn't it a little late for Congressional Democrats to begin airing their problems with Obama's stimulus plan?

NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Leon Panetta to be CIA director for next Tuesday, Feb. 3. That committee had been awaiting a series of answers to policy questions, which have now been received. Officials say there are no legal impediments that are delaying the hearing.

NBC's Viqueira notes that among the great questions of our time are what type of dog will the Obamas get come spring, and where (and with whom) will the new president indulge his passion for hoops. Well, Viq reports, it seems that at the Statuary Hall luncheon on Inauguration Day, Sen. John Ensign (R) challenged the new president to a game of two-on-two. Ensign, a fellow roundball enthusiast, proposed that he and Sen. John Thune, a high school star back home in South Dakota, play Obama and the wingman of his choice. It has been widely reported that the president has some people, both in his cabinet and in the west wing, who have got serious game. A Senate source says that the president was receptive, and that the venue of Camp David was specifically mentioned.

Congress sent the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to Obama's desk. It "makes it easier for women and others to sue for pay discrimination, even if the discrimination has prevailed for decades." And it's on to card check? "Having succeeded with the Ledbetter bill, labor rights advocates can turn to tougher issues, including a controversial measure, expected to come up later this year, that would take away a company's right to demand a secret ballot when workers are deciding whether to join a union."