The Senate has now passed
the stimulus plan on a 61-37 vote
, with all the Democrats and three Republicans -- Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins -- joining together to pass a package weighing in at $838 billion.
This is not the end of the line, though. Next up, the bill goes to the House-Senate conference committee, where liberals will likely try to restore some of the larger spending increases that were trimmed back in the compromise Senate version, such as education, and to address the Senate package's relatively greater reliance on tax cuts over spending.
Then after that's over, the final version will come up for a whole new round of debate and voting in both chambers. That said, it seems like a safe bet that the stimulus will pass in some form, and that it will happen pretty soon.