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Showdown vote looms on Senate economic aid plan

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- The Senate is expected to vote later today on the Democrats' heftier economic stimulus plan. The legislation would tack more than 40 billion dollars onto the House-passed bill. But after some intense lobbying to get Republicans on their side, Democrats are still struggling to gather the votes they need to advance their package. The White House is pushing the Senate to approve the House's slimmer 161-billion-dollar measure "without delay." The House bill would send about 111 million taxpayers checks of $600 to $1,200. The Senate version shaves $100 off those checks and distributes them to 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans. It also includes a 14.5-billion-dollar unemployment benefits extension and a billion dollars in heating aid for the poor. Minority leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans can get behind the checks for seniors and disabled veterans. GOP leaders are trying to assure Republicans they would have another chance to support adding senior citizens and disabled veterans to the aid plan even if they oppose the Democrats' bill.

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