Update, Friday night 7:45 p.m.: The Senate just approved the stimulus package. The vote: 60-38.
From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
The federal stimulus bill is close to going to President Obama's desk to be signed into law. It won approval in the House today and is on the verge of passing the Senate, awaiting the return of an Ohio senator who had left after the death of his mother.
Alaska Republican Don Young was gnashing his teeth after the stimulus bill passed the House, saying “I think it’s an unfortunate day for America. This is probably the most selfish vote for individual gratification I have ever witnessed in 35 years.”
Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski gave a floor speech in the Senate arguing it's too much new spending and “made no effort to increase domestic production of traditional resources such as oil and natural gas.”
Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich voted for it, saying “this bill will keep thousands of Alaskans employed and provide millions of dollars for investment in badly-needed infrastructure.”
There’s a new provision in the bill saying if a governor doesn’t request stimulus funds within 45 days of the bill’s enactment, the state Legislature may do so. Gov. Sarah Palin has criticized the stimulus, saying she wants construction/infrastructure money but might oppose funds for social programs the state could have to pay for down the road.