(CNN) - Senate Democrats have dropped two controversial spending programs in the Senate economic stimulus bill: $75 million dollars for anti-smoking programs, and $400 million for STD and HIV prevention.
Two Democratic leadership sources tell CNN they did it as a “symbolic gesture” to show Republicans they are listening to their objections.
But one of the Democratic sources also admitted that “it’s hard to explain when you’re in the midst of a crisis, why these programs are important. When people are struggling and thinking about their jobs, it’s hard to make that connection.”
Republicans, and even some Democrats, have been pointing to both of these items as prime examples of “excess spending” that doesn’t belong in this stimulus bill.
But there are, of course, many other programs that Republican senators, and even some conservative Democrats still want to scrub from the bill.