Senate Passes Scaled-Back Stimulus Plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate approved a scaled-back economic stimulus plan on Friday that extends unemployment benefits and provides billions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses to help boost economic growth. A majority of senators voted for the bill a day after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved it. The measure now goes to President Bush, who said he will sign

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate approved a scaled-back economic stimulus plan on Friday that extends unemployment benefits and provides billions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses to help boost economic growth.

A majority of senators voted for the bill a day after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved it. The measure now goes to President Bush, who said he will sign it.

Opponents said the economy has already turned around and is beginning to expand even without help and complained that the business tax breaks in the package will also affect revenues to cash-strapped states. Many base their business taxes on federal rules.

Supporters said the package, which will cost the Treasury $42 billion over 10 years, was needed in order to ensure recovery from the economic slump made worse by the Sept. 11 attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

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