WASHINGTON (CNN) – The size of the final stimulus bill, still being worked on at this hour, has dipped to about $789 billion, according to several senators involved in negotiations and other Democratic sources.
That figure is lower than either the House or Senate bills - though Democrat Ben Nelson warned CNN Wednesday that number could change as discussions continue.
Nelson, Susan Collins and other centrist senators spoke as they returned to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office to continue ongoing talks with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Budget Director Peter Orszag.
Collins and others continue to say they're narrowing their differences, and remain optomistic they can reach agreement today.
Nelson said they have put back some funding for education, which has been a concern of House Democrats.
One of the sticking points has been the nearly $20 billion in school construction that was chopped from the Senate version of the bill.
Nelson told CNN they are trying to add the money back, but change the focus from construction to modernization.
Republicans like Collins have told us that one of the concerns about the school construction fund is that it would not immediately create jobs, because local school districts tend to take a long time to agree on new schools.
The idea at work appears to be that modernization may be less bureaucratic and move faster.
Nelson also confirmed CNN's Tuesday night report that lawmakers are scaling back a Senate-passed tax credit for homebuyers, and likely eliminating a tax deduction for car buyers.
Road work, school construction, nuclear power. There should be nothing else on the spending side.
The rest should be employee payroll tax reductions and income tax reductions.
Pelosi and Reids pork projects should be ejected (as should they).
Keep going boys and girls, your not even warm yet.
Nothing makes me more nervous than a phot of Leiber–turd
Keep cutting! This spendulus bill is still OUTRAGEOUS!!! $300 million on "Green Golf Carts"? Yet, B.O. and all his minions in Congress say, "Oh no! There's not one drop of "pork" in this bill". B.S.!!! Tell the truth Mr. President! Most of us do not want to strap our kids and grandkids with this horrendous amount of needless debt.
I hope the stupid tax cuts which have never done anything to stimulate the economy (see latest 8 years) are GONE from this bill.
Although I financially benefit from several of the provisions in both the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill (and will presumably benefit from the combined package), this stimulus is a terrible idea. The Republican stimulus was an equally bad idea.
Any stimulus package will basically involve borrowing (or printing) money now in order to make things better in the short-term, but we have to realize that someday we (or our kids) have to repay that money, with interest. I know that many people who caused us to get us into this mess have a hard time understanding short-term gratification versus long-term suffering, but that is the choice we make with a stimulus like this. I forgive my fellow American for making spending and credit mistakes once, but I cannot standby and watch you do it again!
Obama cites the Japanese economy and the "Lost Decade" as an example of what happens when the government doesn't step in, but we probably need to lose a decade (most economists agree it would be less than that without government help). We need to let the bad catch-up with the good because the good cannot go on outpacing the bad forever. Perhaps those of us who experienced unprecedented appreciation in our investments and home values deserve to suffer some setbacks as those value drop? Perhaps our kids shouldn't pay for our mistaken belief that nothing is too good to be true?
Please don't make the choice to mortgage our kids' future because we are currently experiencing some pain. Instead, realize that pain is the necessary outgrowth of what we've done, and someday, when we are more responsible and smarter for going through all of this, we can get back to a REASONABLE amount of growth and prosperity.
Alright Education! Get back in that bill!
Great, when do the Republicans get to have their say? This is the MOST partisan piece of legislation I've ever seen. Add to that the cost of the legislation and you have the largest partisan spending spree in our nation's history. Probably in the history of the planet. That's hope and change you can believe in.
At least its getting smaller.
when it gets to 10 billion, it will still be pork.
Susan Collins is too smart to be a Republican.....
A billion here a billion there, after a while it adds up. SHEESH!
With all the negotiating going on, and trimming of the fat off the bill, I hope it's big enough. As the president said, 800 billions is not a number that just popped up in his head. I hope Congress makes this bill sizeable enough so that 6 months down the road we don't have to do another stimulus bill.
Obama: The bill needs to be a certain size and scope to have its intended effect.
GOP: What size is that?
GOP: Oh ok...we'll make sure it's smaller than that so it fails. by the way...do you have any rope?
Obama: Sure, here.
GOP: Thanks. Do you think we should use the ceiling fan or the closet bar?
Obama: Oh, ceiling fan...definitely ceiling fan...let me get you a chair.
Keep Pelosi tied up and hidden til Obama signs on the dotted line.
Senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine have risen above the blind loyalty of the GOP economic strategy of deny, delay and do nothing. Which in of its self; is more bipartisan than those GOPers on rooftops calling for bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisan instead of getting things done. Nuff Said.
If a stimulus was to be considered, it had to be substantial enough to do something which the Bush stimuli failed to do. Both Bush stimuli plans were so small as to be insignificant from a multiplier effect. Now Obama is faced with a similar situation and he knows from experts that a significant stimulus must be engineered to have any notable effect. Bush stimuli were less than 1/2 of a percent "blip" on the economic map, totally ineffective for their prescribed purposes. If a stimulus is to be effective then, a very large stimulus must be employed. This is what the Congress and the president are wrangling about. If we learned anything from Bush is to do it correct this time, that is, if you want something done!
This Porkulus bill is just one giant earmark. Sen Schumer said it... "we Americans don't care". Exception being me and all the others of the "Chattering Class"
Its better than nothing. I wish they had left in some help for the states. They need it alot. It would keep the workers in CA from being fired by the governator.
We as voters need to get rid of the millionaires in congress and get some people in touch with reality! They don't care about the American people or how we live! We deserve to be sick, homeless, jobless, and starving!
Sick of it
I think it's disgusting and appalling that the majority of Republicans are ganging up on Senator's Snowe, Collins, and Spector due to their vote for the stimulus package. What's worse are the robo calls to constituents by the ultra-conservative PAC committee throwing these Senator's under the bus. The Republicans are determined to ensure President Obama fails – and with him our country. Surely these Congressmen and women can hardly be called patriots!!!
Why do Republicans always oppose investing in education and job training? They don't want people on welfare (no one does) but they don't want to prepare them for jobs that are available. Isn't that counterproductive?
This is a stimulus bill, please only include things that will directly stimulate the economy.
I'm embarassed by my fellow Dems.
Who does Lieberman represent, I wonder?