February 2nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Dems drop anti-smoking, STD prevention from stimulus

(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.


Filed under: Senate
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. rob

    WOW 75 million out of 9 trillion thats a big concession. The Dem leaders called this a "symbolic gesture" to Reps, what planet are these people on? Pres Obama has to shake some sense into these Senate Dems, the House Dems are too far gone.

    February 2, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Chelle in Fla

    As a strong supporter of Barack Obama, I am also supportive of Republicans questioning excess funding on the bill. This is what our elected leaders are suppose to do. I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat just do something good for the country

    February 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. D-MI

    Yeah! Luckies and the clap for eveyone!

    February 2, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Mike, Syracuse NY

    So now the $819 billion package is down to $818.5 billion? Wow, lots of progress. Cut another $200 billion of pork and we'll be getting close. There needs to be more than symbolic listening.

    February 2, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Outspoken

    It's amazing what the light of day will do for a bill. Nice try though, Dems.

    February 2, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Dont blame me

    There is a LOT more PORK on that bill than that!!!!!!!!!!!

    CUT the PORK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CUT the PORK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Derrick

    How about dropping all of these things from this bill that does not immediately address the country's financial issues. Create a real bill! Isn't that your jobs? Get people working, when that happens; people spend money, you can tax the products they purchase, you can tax their income, people spending money employs other people. If a program does not create a broad swath of jobs (10,000+), why should it even be considered?

    February 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. AndreinFL

    I totally agree with the Republicans on the basis that a lot of programs similar to the aforementioned HIV prevention and anti-smoking programs needs to be discarded. Let's take care of Issue #1 first then tend to these other important but miniscule in comparison to the economic crisis type of issues.

    February 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. DEMwits

    Waiting for comments from all the moron liberals on how these programs were related to "stimulating" the economy...

    Everyone agrees that preventing smoking related diseases and the spread of HIV is a good thing...but how does it tie into a comprehensive economic stimulus plan???

    These cuts are a good start....however there is plenty more agenda based spending items in the current stimulus plan which need to be chopped...keep trimming the fat!

    February 2, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Shari, NY

    "Iraqis in Diyala province sarcastically call it "the whale." The "skeletal, half-built" shell of a maximum-security prison "will probably never house an inmate" even though the U.S. spent $40 million on the now-halted $73 million project". Say what????????

    February 2, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Paul DObro

    I hope they get the STD and AIDS prevention back in to another bill and fast. The numbers are growing and these STDs will be with these young people al he lives and will eventually cost he government well in excess of the $400M price tag.

    Get smart people, don't hide you head in the sand the way the Republicans do.

    February 2, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. KC

    Symbolic? Uh no. I don't need a babysitter. I need to see that you ding bats up there on the Hill are going to do something for this nation, create jobs and fix your screw up. Yes, yours.

    February 2, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. AMERICA FIRST!

    GOOD, THESE ARE PERSONAL CHOICES PEOPLE MAKE FOR THEMSELVES REGARDLESS OF THE HEALTH PROBLEMS BOTH OF THESE LEAD TO. I AS A TAX PAYER DON'T WANT TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ON WHY THEY SHOULDN'T SMOKE AND CERTAINLY NOT ABOUT THEIR SEXUAL HABITS. TAKE THE MONEY AND PUT IN INTO EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATE THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS AND TRAIN THEM FOR A NEW TRADE SO THEY CAN GET BACK TO WORK. AND A NOTE TO NEWT RE: SARA IN 2012, REALLY NOW THAT IS GREAT THEN FOR SURE BARACK WILL BE ELECTED PRESIDENT FOR ANOTHER 8 YEARS

    February 2, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Melly

    It does not matter if Dems drop anything from the stimulus Bill. Republicans are playing their OLD GAME, i.e.:
    BLOCK THE STIMULUS PACKAGE and DO NOT COOPERATE WITH OBAMA AT ANY COST.

    That's how low the Republican party has become. Without ANY Consideration for regular people. A REGIONAL PARTY for sure.

    Senate Republican will be no better than House Republicans.

    THEY JUST WANT OBAMA FAIL, that's what their REAL LEADER RUSH LIMBAUGH SAID, DIDN"T HE?

    This is sad, a very sad day for any X-Republican including me.

    February 2, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Democrats are playing the smart game with this economic stimulous package and making the Republicans look like fools. Republicans better stop listening to Rush and supporting the ignorance of Palin. Republicans need to take a smart pill.

    February 2, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Sandra Day

    The above headline and "NH governor suggests he'd replace Gregg with a Republican" are both examples of how the Democrats are willing to play fairly. All I have heard from Republicans is whine, whine, whine, and it is either ALL our way or nothing. Sounds like Les Enfants to me.

    February 2, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Bob in Pa

    475 Million... Keep going boys and girls ! Only about 4oo billion more wasteful items to shed from that wooly package.

    February 2, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Blue VA

    JOBS JOBS JOBS. Whatever gets thrown into this bill must create jobs. It seems like everyday now a major business is laying off up to 10,000 people. Today it was Macy's. The economy is on a downward spiral and I don't see the bottom of it yet.

    February 2, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Axel

    Time to drop the tax cut portions too. Tax cuts do nothing for growth, look at the past eight years. Our schools, roads, airports, trains and power grid need the investment. Can't keep on cashing checks without putting money in the bank.

    February 2, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. yuri

    Dear Dems-
    Now you are talking turkey. A little trimming of the package here and there will go a long way. When somebody is in a dire situation, he or she will, most likely, not listen to abstract ideas of long term implications of a recovery plan. The mind set of a distressed person is like a teenager's. A concrete and quick result will be the anticipation.

    And as for you, GOPs. Pay a little more attention, please. Do not keep harping on the same point of tax reduction. You and I well know the stimulus plan is a lot more complicated than a simple juvenile idea of tax reduction ( Rush Limbaugh's main and boisterous thrust). It has not worked in the past 8 years, and by itself, will not work now, either.

    February 2, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. James

    It is a good start. While green jobs may sound good there is nothing in this bill to help us increase drilling of our own oil, coal and natural gas! Most Americans supported this idea but the Obama will not do anything about it. This is the same kind of thinking that got us into this energy pickle in the first place! Why gamble our future on something that is so uncertain?

    February 2, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Had Enough

    Dropping the $75 million for anti-smoking programs is a good idea seeing how the children's health insurance plan will be paid for by taxing smokers ($1 per pack)...God forbid all the smokers quit and left the little children with no health care. Who would pay for their coverage then? Ahh yes, the alchoholics. Maybe heroin should be legalized, then we could ALL have free health insurance...

    February 2, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Outspoken

    A "symbolic gesture".......taking something out of the bill that never should have been in it to begin with. Well wasn't that big of them?

    February 2, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Axel

    Lets start calling this what it is, its an ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN, to recover from the eight years of abuse this country has suffered under GOP rule including two recessions, one unnecessary war, and the worst decline in wages and employment since the 30s.

    For the Republicans to even think they have a right to comment on this plan is laughable at best.

    February 2, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Roy

    In the frenzy of trying to fix this economic mess, it is sad that the Republicans don't seem to get:
    -Every smoker without insurance will cost the government over time much more in health care costs and later in life Medicare costs than non-smokers
    -Every STD and HIV patient without insurance will also cost the government much more over time.
    Evidently some elected officials just want to see a number on a page that will translate to votes in the 2010 elections.
    Perhaps the word 'stimulus' in this bill excludes these 2 PARTICULAR programs, but these programs are sorely needed, and it is a shame we still pay subsidies to tobacco farmers in the U.S. THERE is a waste of money.

    February 2, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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