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. Bob the Observer

    @ Amanda

    Since you love paying taxes so much, would you mind paying mine? I need money to pay for my family's expenses. I'm glad that some of you think tax cuts are stupid. I'm glad some people love to pay them. I can send my address if you want to send me a check.

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

    One and done Barry. Please tell us specifically which portions and the dollar amounts that are pork. Which of the 720 pages (which you have obviously read) that pork is on so we can all look it up. Thanks.

    February 11, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. jeff

    My problem with the stimulas is not that the dems will spend 1 trillion it is that they and or the republicans can spend it and not even know if it will work.
    How can anyone sell you the puplic on something that they themselves do not know if it will work.
    How can the public and media sit back and not request real guarantees on this working.
    I would rather do nothing than gamble with what little money I have.
    If I own money and loose my job am I going to take the last $100 out of my bank or take my kids babysitting money and play the lotory or go to a casino. Or am I going to keep that money for food and look for another job

    February 11, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Dont blame me

    They had better MAKE SURE and put E-Verify back into this bill to protect American workers, otherwise only the ILLEGAL immigrants will get the jobs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ans while they are at it, they need to STOP the H1-B visas which is allowing over 150,000 foreigners into this country to take American jobs.

    In just over 6 months the could save 1 million American jobs. That is IF the democrats REALLY want to protect American jobs.

    The republicans have been the ONLY ones trying to stop the H1-B visas and getting E-Verify in the bill to protect American jobs.

    Let's watch and see if the democrats want to protect American jobs as much as the republicans do OR if they want the misery to continue.

    February 11, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Latte Sipping Leftie

    @ Randy

    I agree with you

    February 11, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Mike

    I am STILL waiting for the media to report to the naive public the contents the Stimulus Package. Items such as heath care, who gets it, who won't, personal information sharing, education, etc. It is more than just trillions of dollars that will be passed on to the generations to come. It is about our heritage, our freedom, our ability to be a free people with choices. Didn't we already see this in Cuba and Venezuela when those people were in desperate need for a change? Tehy voted off of propoganda and voiced promises. Look at the state of those countries people now! We need to slow this down to a stop! The "Stimulus Package" should be about our national economy, not to slowly undermine and rewrite our constitution!

    February 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Rita

    Thank you Amanda, the only thing conservatives have to offer is to sit back and let the economy freefall and cut taxes, which never worked for the past eight years. I am tired of the stuck-up "let the people eat cake" attitudes coming from Republicans. I am from Michigan and my family and many others are going under!!! I have never seen such an insensitive lot. The Democrats have compromised time and time again on this bill! All they are worried about is their seat in the next elections and PACS threatening them. They could care less about the American people.

    February 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Jim

    If these idiots would take out the PORK and EARMARKS, then put in things that would help the american people, we would have a stimulus bill. Saw a poll last night on yahoo. 63% of 54000 people voting said NO.

    @ Amanda: So, you want to pay more taxes????? Talk about stupid.

    February 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Ben

    To all of the people that keep complaining about CNN being a vast liberal conspiracy –
    You all sound insane! "I can't possibly be wrong so the whole world must be against me." "Anyone who likes Obama must be a secret cult member."
    And to all of the non-insane people out there – I suggest reading republican comments to yourself in a thick hillbilly accent. It's more realistic that way.

    February 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Once you vote Black

    I am all for talking and working with the GOP but at some point the Dems will have to take a stance. That is what the Nov. vote reflected, and if the Dems show they cannot they will be replaced at the next election. Go O. Go!

    February 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Matthew, Detroit

    The spending will not solve anything. Cut the spending. It never worked in history. It did not work for Germany in 1920. It has not worked for Japan throughout the 90's.

    Clinton ran up an additional 1.7 trillion in national debt in 8 years.
    Bush ran up an additional 2.7 trillion in national debt in 8 years.

    Barack will add 2 tillion in national debt in his first 1.5 years.

    This is insane. We can not pay for it.

    February 11, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Machiavelli, Baton Rouge, LA

    My greatest wish is to see the funding for new school construction/modernization be left in this bill. The Republicans want this part of the bill slashed because they know that most of this money will go to funding the construction of schools in the areas that need it most: the inner cities and rural areas. The suburbias with the higher tax bases do not need this kind of funding because their schools are always updated.

    The Republicans do not wish that underpriivileged black and Latino kids, who of no fault of their own, have to try to learn in sweltering heat and frigid temperatures, with outdated books and little or no computer science and physics programs because the tax funding is not there to provided these children with the tools to remains competitive with the kids from suburbia.

    So what do the Republicans say? "There is not much sense in putting these programs in these schools because the kids will not advantage of them, nor can they learn the material." This is not so, but it is what the Republicans will have mainstream America to believe. I think President Obama and the Democratic Establishment will be in for big trouble with this part of their base of they remove this portion of the bill.

    February 11, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. gl, Pittsburgh

    Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit would be reduced from $500 per worker to $400, with couples eligible for an $800 credit, instead of $1,000, said a Democratic aide close to the talks. This aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are private.

    Why do they alway shot change the middle class? With just $400, that will on be 10 dollar a pay. What will they do to stiulate the economy when gas is increasing. The GOP hate help the poor. This cut was not necessary. Once again the rich win and poor loses.

    February 11, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Sarah

    It seems kind of stupid to me that giving a tax credit for buying something will stimulate the economy. People have to have money (or banks have to be lending) before they can spend it. The only people that tax credits is going to help is the people that do not need help anyway.

    Here's an idea, if the problem is people defaulting on mortgages;
    then let the government refinance their loans at an affordable payment, the banks get paid(therefore more money to lend), the people don't lose their homes and taxpayer money is at less risk. Plus we don't have to spend a ton extra money on pork or pet projects.

    February 11, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. tropicgirl

    That is a very good decision to change school construction to refurbishing. In Florida, they would just take this money, fast track schools into the Everglades, so that they could build more houses, that we don't need, in sensitive areas.

    We still have kids going to school in trailers and they are building schools in the wildlife areas SO THAT they can build more homes there.

    Normally these schools would go through a very intensive public reaction and environmental study but this would sidestep all that.

    Local officials are always in the pockets of bad developers.

    Just ask Obama and his crooked developer friend in Chicago, he knows exactly what goes on.

    February 11, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. gl, Pittsburgh

    Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit would be reduced from $500 per worker to $400, with couples eligible for an $800 credit, instead of $1,000, said a Democratic aide close to the talks. This aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are private.

    Why do they alway shot change the middle class? With just $400, that will on be 10 dollar a pay. What will they do to stiulate the economy when gas is increasing. The GOP hate help the poor. This cut was not necessary. Once again the rich win and poor loses.

    President Obama said he would not go for them cutting any portion from the Making Work Pay. This is very unfair to the middle class. They need to remove tax cuts for people buy houses or car. Who can aford to buy a house or a cut put rich people. Most people are losing their jobs.

    February 11, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Just Shut Up

    Only $800 Billiion more to go!

    February 11, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. 911willie

    We better check and make sure that the Chinese will lend us the money for all of this. If they don't buy Treasuries debt and interest rates spike, we are in a world of hurt.

    Anybody remember 30 year interest on Treasuries above 13% during Jimmy Carter's administration?

    Do the math. On more than $10 trillion of debt. Interest at that rate would be $1.3 Trillion a year. That's more than the current federal Budget. plus Entitlements, plus Defense, plus plus plus.

    That means stratospheric taxes or print more paper money.No way these guys will raise taxes and printing more paper money means inflation and lot's of it. That's the Rwanda plan for dealing with debt.

    Sorry,but what we need is not more spending and tax cuts. What we need is to balance the budget, start paying down the debt, and eliminate the trade deficit.

    A couple of thoughts

    1) Put a $50 a barrel import fee on oil. We import 10+ Mil barrels a day. That's $200 Billion a year in revenue. It will increase the value of domestic oil and alternatives, reduce imports, help the environment, and give us some money to invest in energy research and conservation. OK so it means $2.75 gas, well eliminate all taxes on ethanol and biofuels to soften the blow and encourage their use.

    2) Charge a 9-11 fee like the TSA gets at airports for every person, car, truck, cargo container, rail car and bulk cargo ship that comes into our country. Make it steep, like $25 per person and $500 per container, etc. This will raise the costs of imports yes, but will help level the playing field with low wage outsourced production. That helps domestic manufacturers and their employees. Use the potential Hundreds of Billions of Dollars to hire Tens of Thousands of workers to really inspect people and cargo that is coming into our country.

    These are not tariffs so they wouldn't violate trade agreements. And if foreigners complain? Tough. Are they going to boycott buying our food? That's really all we export anyway, and most food exporters are keeping their food at home.

    Just a few thoughts from a lowly middle class taxpayer...

    February 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Al

    Why isn't CNN reporting on the hidden provision in the "stimulus" bill that would allow the government to basically start rationing our health care??? WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!! Don't let the liberals do this to our country!

    February 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Larry Houston Texas

    This is to "Randy"............How in the heck can we EVER export more than we Import ?? Do you know that down here in Houston at the Ship Channel there is more & more "Sea Containers" coming IN, every DAY ?? That stuff is coming IN from China ! (not to mention Indionesa & other 3rd world countries) That stuff is going to the Wal – Marts / and those 99 cent stores / dollar general stores / all over the U.S. !!

    Guess what ? Houston & the State of Texas is benefitting from it...
    They quoted on the local news the other night, that they were making BILLIONS Annually, on the stuff that's coming IN !!!

    February 11, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Mark Ferbet

    Until they have a final bill, and WE can all read it.. I'm not holding my breath... and as to the people that keep making comments like, "What happened to this tax cut, or this proposal, that was promised during the election, etc.. etc.. etc..."

    People... This Administration isn't even a month old yet... give it time.

    Unless the spending proposed in this legislation will go to work in the next few months... it should be taken out... and the tax cuts should stay where they are... So, things like Health Care and Education spending should be in their own bills... and not tacked on to this one.

    February 11, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Ernie in LA

    Amanda, Since you hate tax cuts, your taxes should be trippled or more. You can pay my taxes.

    February 11, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Survivor

    wow – the people this President is supposed to represent – just look at these blogs (esp the ones who rant and rave – and probably have done so all of their decrepit lives!) who would want to be the leader of such.....?? Thank goodness there are some that appreciate. what about the deficit that the Bush Administration left us and the mess that Obama walked into – and who the heck knows what has been swept under that carpet in the oval office! Surprise.....oh well – pick up the pieces and do something just don't stand there with your mouth open.....appears to me that Obama is trying to explain as plain as possible what is to be done – just watch the news and the areas that Obama is traveling to this week – listen to the Govenors and Mayors of the various cities and towns across the nation – something is wrong and it isn't all out yet!! Trick or Treat from the previous Administration!!

    February 11, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Bob in Pa

    Speaking of sheep, did you catch some of them on Obama's Town Hall meeting ? Whew, what some of them percieve the Presidents job to be is outrageous. That one boy thinking that Obama could step in and control wages and benefits at McDonalds was too good.

    February 11, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. feed

    this president is like a job he brought his way in causep gave him money he isnt goin to do anything to help working people unless you are african america

    February 11, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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