Washington, Jan.29 (ANI): Failing to get a single Republican in the House of Representatives to vote in favour of his 819 billion dollar economic rescue plan, President Barack Obama still managed to get a 244-188 thumbs up vote. The bill now moves to the US Senate before it returns to the White House for Obama's signature.
"The plan now moves to the Senate, and I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk," Obama said.
Obama hustled to push his massive rescue plan through Congress in the hope of quickly infusing funds into the cash-and credit-starved American economy.
The vote was the biggest victory of Obama's infant administration. But the fact that not a single Republican voted with him, was a symbolic rebuke for Obama, who paid GOP skeptics a courtesy call Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
His gesture failed to produce any converts.
Obama hopes to fare better when the Senate takes up its own version of the bill Monday.
GOP insiders said even if Senate Republicans toe the party line as their House colleagues did, many of them will eventually come around once the final version of the bill is crafted by merging House and Senate versions.
With the economy in crisis, Republicans understand they'll be punished at the polls in 2010 if they're seen as obstructionists.
According to the New York Daily News, the key to peeling off GOP support may rest with Arizona Sen. John McCain, who so far has said he's voting against.Earlier, Obama tried to pressure pro-business House Republicans by trotting out 13 business leaders at the White House just hours before the vote.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs cast the administration's inability to pick up any Republican votes as a reflection of the politics Obama campaigned against - not a repudiation of a president who worked the Republican side of the aisle even harder than he did his own party's side.
"Of course we're disappointed that it's going to take longer to change the way Washington works than just a little more than a week, but the president feels good about the efforts that he's made to reach out to people to work with them," Gibbs said in an interview quickly set up after the vote.
But Gibbs insisted that the president would get points for his effort, and noted that Obama was still hosting the very House Republican leaders who led the effort against the bill at a cocktail party at the White House Wednesday night.
"In all honesty, I think the American people will understand that picture quite clearly," Gibbs said. That picture, he said, was "the unprecedented effort of a newly sworn-in president to reach out, to work with Republicans to get the economy moving." (ANI)