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Senate passes economic recovery plan

President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan has passed the U.S. Senate and is on its way to difficult House-Senate negotiations.

Just three Republicans helped pass the plan on a 61-37 vote and they are already signaling they are firmly resolved to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in Senate dealmaking. Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states.

Those cuts are among the major differences between the $819 billion House version of Obama’s plan and a Senate bill costing $838 billion. Obama has warned of a deepening economic crisis if Congress fails to act. He wants a bill completed by the weekend.