February 11th, 2009
12:14 PM ET
9 years ago

Size of stimulus drops below $800 billion as talks continue

Collins and Lieberman are among those negotiating the latest version of the stimulus bill.

Collins and Lieberman are among those negotiating the latest version of the stimulus bill.

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.

Filed under: stimulus plan
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Independent_me

    Construction. Construction. Construction... put the money into construction... fastest way to produce jobs immediately. This will have a rolling effect on employment ... everybody wins...

    February 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. The Great Karnac

    Partisans,please take a moment and find out where your money is really going,checkout "The American Tapeworm"by Catherine Fitts.

    February 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. mw


    February 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Simmy

    Don't go changing, trying to please THEM.

    February 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. M Jonah


    Did their parents ever thought them how to FIND THE MIDDLE GROUND when confronted with issue of choice and not always trying to throw a fit and lies to have your own way as CHILDREN?

    WELL I guess the above goes for both the democrats and the republicans who are playing immature in both houses of the American government.

    February 11, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. The Truth Detector

    I've often wondered why the parties elect extreme wakos (Reid/Pelosi) for their leadership rather than people who actually have common sense and can get things done.

    February 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. mary

    I don't understand certain things; maybe someone can help me out here: why were the Republicans eager to spend trillions to build Iraq but are now very reluctant to help build this country? Were they part of the group that helped pass Bush's stimulus package? Why is it that when they were in the majority they wrote the bills but now that they are a minority they still want to write the bills? is that what country first means?

    February 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Rob

    While all the Dems/libs are sitting around, kissing each other and kneeling in front of the Alter of Obama, any one of you have an answer to this question – How exactly is the US gonna get the cash? China won't buy any more of our debt, others countries maybe a little. But hey, at least Hollywood will get their chunk. And golf carts can get modernized. And some little chicky in Outer Slobovia can now go back to sleeping around cause she can once again get free abortions (at U.S. taxpayers' expense). And someone who already doesn't pay anything in taxes will be given money from the U.S. (just remember who to vote for).

    How much of the stimu-pork bill is set aside for moving Lenin's tomb over to replace the Washington Monument?

    February 11, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. One and done Barry

    Take out the Liberals pork paybacks and just leave the REAL JOB STIMULUS stuff in there, real simple LIBERALS, we are on to your "pork in a bill" mentality.

    Throw me a bone, I work 60 hours a week, give US non-union workers a break as well, cut back the payroll tax NOW and put money in ALL of our pockets and don't just PAYBACK the sheep that supported you.

    We are all Americans and unlike MANY of the sheep that vote Democratic, I actualy put into THE FUND that they are going to be raiding for years to come.

    Cuting checks to the Oprah watching, frito eating crowd isn't a tax break Barry and company, it is welfare.

    Don't just payback your buddies, payback people that uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, work for a living.

    You sheep like paying for frisbee golf courses, Congressesional furniture, hybrid cars for these bums etc, etc, etc, etc???

    I don't, they "aint" going to create one BLEEPING job with that junk.


    February 11, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    No more taxpayer money to the wealthy. Even our President was speechless yesterday when confronted with a homeless woman looking for help.
    Any taxpayer monies spent should go directly to the programs to help shelter, clothes, and feed the Millions of citizens left devastated by this criminal economic meltdown.

    February 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Randy

    This Stimulus Plan will fail, IF:

    1. The Bail-Out Money is not Regulated and Accountability is not Enforced.
    2. We don’t apply the 5th Grade Lesson we Learnt:
    A. We need to Export more than we Import.
    B. We need to Earn more than we Spend.
    C. We need more Action than Words and Lip Service.
    3. “Made in China” is not controlled.
    4. Manufacturing jobs are not saved.

    February 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Michael Bindner

    It remains to be seen whether the congressional Republican leadership will behave like adults or instead drive their three remaining moderates into the arms of Harry Reid. If they throw a tantrum, expect DC statehood before the year is out (after Franken is seated, if Snowe, Collins and Specter go Dem or Independent, seating DC's shadow Senators could result in a 64 vote Democratic majority – 4 short of 2/3rds).

    February 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Howard Fleming

    This is my opinions of the republicans: In November they got the worst beating in years. Bush and his government ruined the country and did not care. McCain claims he oppose his own republicans. The banks took billions of tax money and Bush did nothing. 50 Billion of free Money = Party Time. Bush asked for no accountability. They refused to help the car companies after giving banks billions. They lost millions of jobs and can not sell cars when banks will not lend money. I do not know of any company that was responsible with the Free Tax Money. The republicans hope Obama and Democrats fail because they did. They do not care about the people that elected them. They have jobs, houses that won't be foreclosed on, and health insurance and no concern. They love to attack and fight, it s free and fun. The economy is next to a depression. Some said unemployed people should be happy because now they can stay at home and make a stronger family. They hate Obama and everything he does. He has done more for republicans than anyone. Everything his government does is wrong yet Bush was all right. At least he is trying to help and takes responsibility of his decisions. Congress is known not to vote in a way to support their constituents until election time. It is easy to find fault. I can dissect any bill and then vote against it. Obama is even is setting up a website to show how every tax dollar is spent and whee anyone can voice their opinion for wrong doing.

    February 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. TEXAS

    In the fall of 1921, Harding’s Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover prompted him to call a Conference on Unemployment. Hoover wanted government intervention in the economy, which as president he was to pursue when he faced the Great Depression a decade later, but Harding would have none of it. Good thing, since Hoover’s policies were to prolong the Great Depression. Harding said, "There will be depression after inflation, just as surely as the tides ebb and flow." Harding insisted that relief measures were a local responsibility.

    In 1922, the House passed a veterans’ bonus bill 333–70, without saying how the bonuses would be funded. Harding let senators know that if they passed the bill, he would veto it. The senate passed it 35–17. Despite intense lobbying from the American Legion, Harding vetoed the bill on September 19 – just six weeks before congressional elections, when presidents generally throw goodies at voters. Harding said it was unfair to add to the burdens of 110 million taxpayers.

    Federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes were cut from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and $4 billion in 1922. Harding’s policies started a trend. The low point for federal taxes was reached in 1924. For federal spending, in 1925. The federal government paid off debt, which had been $24.2 billion in 1920, and it continued to decline until 1930.

    Conspicuously absent was business-bashing that became a hallmark of FDR’s speeches. Absent, too, were New Deal–type big government programs to make it more expensive for employers to hire people, to force prices above market levels, to promote cartels and monopolies. Frederick Lewis Allen wrote, "Business itself was regarded with a new veneration. Once it had been considered less dignified and distinguished than the learned professions, but now people thought they praised a clergyman highly when they called him a good business man."

    With Harding’s tax cuts, spending cuts and relatively non-interventionist economic policy, the gross national product rebounded to $74.1 billion in 1922. The number of unemployed fell to 2.8 million – a reported 6.7% of the labor force – in 1922. So, just a year and a half after Harding became president, the Roaring 20s were underway! The unemployment rate continued to decline, reaching a low of 1.8% in 1926 – an extraordinary feat. Since then, the unemployment rate has been lower only once in wartime (1944), and never in peacetime.

    February 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Susan

    Lieberman ?!
    Traitor !!

    I do not trust him.

    February 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Gary

    Any chance we can cut this stimulus down to $200B over 3 years and only for infrastructure projects that we really need like bridges, roads, electrical grid etc? We can't afford to keep borrowing and borrowing to "stimulate" us into a fake recovery.

    February 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Ken in Dallas

    Weak coverage, CNN. You announce that the bill got smaller, and neglect to describe in any way what was removed to make it smaller.

    February 11, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Bruce

    Politicians: Please decide - is this a stimulus bill, or is this a chance to fund every pet project you've ever had?

    Yes, I know that education needs help, that there are social programs and agendae that some of you have been drooling to get passed and now that the pesky Republican is out of the White House, you are looking for opportunity.

    Could you all, just for a moment, be honest and realize that the American public and the President are looking to you to do what was promised? A STIMULUS PACKAGE!! THAT'S WHAT WE NEED. Something that creates jobs and gets people spending and working again.

    Please get on with it and quit sparring about all those other programs. You have at least four, and maybe eight years to get everything else done.

    Please cut this project to bare bones economic stimulus, jobs, and housing relief. Like you all promised.

    You're all politicians. We know you lie a lot. We expect you to. That's why you're in politics.

    But our national Rear is in the wringer now. Just for a minute, pretend you are a normal American with normal problems.

    February 11, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Kathy

    Watch out!!! They're reeling you in!!!! The whole package needs to be rewritten. It is still going to nail us to the wall.

    February 11, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Ahhh...a smaller stimulus. Maybe somebody's finally using their head. More for less. More stimulus with less patronage. More jobs with less executive bonuses. More satisfaction on Main Street and less corruption on Wall Stree.

    More for less!

    February 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Debbie Black/Kansas City

    That is a mistake eliminating the car deduction and the homebuyer deduction. It would be an enormous incentive/stimulus, for those of us who still have jobs, to begin buying. I personally am waiting to buy a car and my daughter to buy house, we have been pre approved.

    February 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. John NC

    Obama said that seniors making less than $50k would not have to pay taxes if he were elected. What happened to that promise?

    February 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Ray Ray

    The complete LUNACY of this Governments actions would turn the graves of our founding fathers!!


    If you're into financial problems – do you run up your credit card thinking you can SPEND your way out of the problem?? Or do you REDUCE your expenses??

    Too bad the Democrats are drunk with power and have control of the National Checkbook.... and fail to realize a Ponzi Scheme never works!

    February 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. elsie

    Amanda, It looks like that $15,000 (Republican Scheme) tax credit for rich home buyers is out! Who pays $15,000 in taxes beside the rich? That scheme whoul have allowed say family members to sell their homes to each other and each get the credit. Education construction is back in.

    February 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. IndiePA

    When the stimulus package moved from the House to the Senate, it contained the wording to keep E-verify alive. The Senate removed it from the bill. In effect, letting E-verify die will guarantee millions of taxpayers' dollars to provide newly created jobs to 300,000 ILLEGAL ALIENS and their CRIMINAL EMPLOYERS! This is just one glitch in the bill; but, if the taxpaying citizens of the U.S. and their children and grandchildren are going to be saddled with taxes to cover this pork-filled bill, the advantages provided should NOT go to ILLEGALS. I voted for Obama, but the words of John McCain ring true. This bill is wasteful and promises more of the Reaganomics "trickle down" theories that NEVER worked! I wonder how much we will owe to China and Saudi Arabia after this passes.

    February 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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