Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) are working on the rhetoric of the bill, and Durbin seemed certain that the Senate would move it through during the opening round of 2010.
The bill, however, does not differ much from the $174 billion House version that passed in December. Public works projects are expected to receive $48 billion, and an additional $28 billion will be given to the state and local governments to avoid job cuts. The measure also calls for a full-year extension of SAFETEA-LU.
Although the White House and a Democratic Congress plan to do more to address the jobless rate, which is expected to stand at 10.1% once the December numbers are released, both also will be looking at ways of reducing the federal deficit in 2010.