WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US House of Representatives on Friday passed a 787-billion-dollar stimulus package that President Barack Obama has called "only the beginning" of his efforts to rescue the crippled economy. Obama's Democratic allies powered the bill to a 246-183 victory but not one of the president's Republican critics broke ranks to support the measure, as attention shifted to a likely Senate vote late in the day. Supporters and opponents of the package alike predicted full passage of the package - a blend of tax cuts, aid to the least well off, and investment in infrastructure, education and energy - by Obama's February 16 target date. The president was expected to sign the measure soon and savour what would be his biggest political win since taking office January 20 and suffering a series of setbacks, notably a series of cabinet nominees withdrawing from contention. The victory was also bittersweet, as lawmakers were voting on a compromise stimulus plan that was smaller than Obama had requested and Republicans rebuffed his appeals to join Democrats in approving the bill. A simple majority was required for House passage, while 60 votes were needed in the Senate to ensure passage over any last-minute parliamentary delaying tactics. Obama told business leaders in a speech at the White House that finishing the legislation was critical but only the start of his efforts to rescue the crippled US economy. "Passing this plan is a critical step, but as important as it is, it's only the beginning of what I think all of you understand is going to be a long and difficult process of turning our economy around," Obama said. The President vowed more action to thaw frozen lending and repair the ruined US housing sector, saying quick, comprehensive action was needed "to truly address this crisis" - a paralysing recession that has cost millions of jobs. Republicans have blasted the plan, which supporters say will save or create some 3.5 million US jobs, as bloated with wasteful government spending and lacking in tax cuts - the party's traditional cure-all for economic woes. "This bill is loaded with wasteful deficit spending on the majority's favourite government programs. We need jobs, not mountains of debt to be paid by our children," said the number two House Republican, Eric Cantor. The legislation, a product of hard-fought negotiations this week, includes 120 billion dollars in infrastructure spending, including monies for highways, trains and expanding broadband internet access. It also features nearly 20 billion dollars for renewable energy and 11 billion to modernize the US electrical grid - steps former vice president Al Gore warmly endorsed weeks ago as a major down payment on Obama's strategy for fighting climate change. The bill also includes tax cuts - 95 per cent of US families are expected to benefit - and tens of billions of dollars for things like extending unemployment benefits, bolstering health care for the least well-off, and monies to help cash-strapped states avoid cuts in services like education. Much of the overseas attention on the legislation has focused on a "Buy American" provision that, with a handful of exceptions, bars stimulus money from going to public works projects "unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States." The final House-Senate version of the clause retained Senate language saying the limits must be applied "in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements."