House Democrats may be hailing the passage of a massive economic-stimulus bill, but Wall Street's reaction hasn't nearly as cheerful. With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan now headed to the Senate for debate, markets are showing ample displeasure with the bill in its current form. The economic recovery plan passed muster in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 244-188 Wednesday evening, with 177 Republicans unanimous in their opposition to the package -- despite President Barack Obama's urging of bipartisan support. Following the House's quick passage of the $819 billion recovery plan, which came just eight days after Obama's inauguration, Democrats trumpeted the benefits the package will bring to the U.S. economy. "This legislation will go a long way toward addressing
small business concerns and getting capital flowing again," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for those in support of the stimulus plan. Its passage came on the eve of the government's latest report on weekly jobless claims, which showed that the number of out-of-work Americans receiving unemployment benefits reached an all-time record. Continuing claims increased by 159,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the most since the government's records begin in 1967. Additionally, a separate government report Thursday showed that new home sales plummeted nearly 15% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 331,000, wrapping up the worst year for new-home sales since 1982.