(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.
Maybe they are afraid of putting too many healthcare workers and hospitals out of business during this touchy economic time?
Cigarette smoking and Second Hand Smoke are now being shown to be responsible for a majority of premature illness and death...and thus, a vast amount of healthcare spending.
Even staunch dems like myself have to acknowledge that this bill needs some cleaning. What is it with cramming tons of items into one bill that has to be voted on as a single unit? This bill should be broken down into smaller pieces that are debated and voted upon individually...
I know the saying "its the economy, stupid?" but its equally about health care. We need to fund education, and prevention of these diseases. Certain parts of America are like a third world country, and this drives the cost of health care up.
$475M divided by, let's say $850B for round numbers = 0.056% of the bill. Yes, that's 5.6 HUNDREDTHS OF A PERCENT. This is what you call throwing the dog a bone. Sit up and beg GOPers.
It's a start, go line by line and take out any item that could be funded privately or with donations. Even with anti smoking commercials and patches, gum , no smoking sections etc, smokers are going to smoke. In NYC on the coldest days of the year I can find the same group puffing away in front of my office building. I don't want to pay for their need to play russian roulette with their health.
I'm sorry John, Brooklyn, NY February 2nd, 2009 5:18 pm ET, But HIV education can be privately funded through donations, condoms giv aways do not stimulate the economy.
nonsense – obesity is the LEADING health care problem at the moment. stand by... But this is all beside the point – when we elect people who will do away with "earmarks", and support term limits, we might get somewhere.
Weenies. Excuse me, who won?
Now it sems to me that it is more intelligent and money saving if the anti smoking and STD issues were not dropped. Those with cigarette related diseases and STD diseases being spread woulkd certainly out weigh the cost of medical care for those with either of these problems. Lung cancer alone takes up millions aof dollars in hosptitalization and medicine. I have quite a few family member who died with lung cancer and all smoked at early age. Their bills were astronomical. I am in health care and the STD problem spreads and has no end becasue all most people care about is what they want. It seems it would be cost effective to allow money for thse programs in the stimulus package.
OK, people. This is supposed to be an emergency Economic Stimulus package! Not extra 'spend as you will' budget money. If it doesn't fit that criteria, it needs to be pulled out. Period. This is the type of sneaky spending that causes Americans (BOTH Rep and Dem alike) to distrust our stupid elected officials. You put the money you want to invest in long term programs/projects in the regular budget, not this package. Otherwise we might need to rename the term 'pork' to 'stimulus'.
To Lilarose (and others who claim this bill is full of pork),
Have YOU read the bill? If not, how can you write it off as pork-filled? I guess there really are people who do what Rush tells them without thinking.
Welll with a wife who's husband was recently diagosed with stage 4 lung cancer I would have liked to have seen the 75 million for anti-smoking stay in the bill. It is amazing how one trip to the emergency room can change your life and routines forever. This is one of those things you don't think is important until it is you who is effected by the decision and outcome..
Shelley and Wake Up...remember, this is a emergency economic stimulus package. Your concerns, while justified, do not fit the criteria that the money in this package is targeted for. This is why many people have taken issue with the latest package. I simply wish the President would proactively address this with the current Senate and House members and ask them to remove this, and not wait until it gets negative press. I would feel better if he took this approach.
bi-partisan politics? Obama's team has extended their hand, time for the reupblican'ts to extend theirs, instead of holing up in their fortress of spite and pouting. lets friggin fix this instead of having a wang-waving contest.
At some point CNN will need to realize that the Republicans would do this type of thing no matter what. I am sure that the moment the bill was written, there were congressional aides combing through this bill for the most egregious spending offenses. If they hadn't found the STD prevention or the smoking cessation program, it would have been something else to get all riled up about.
The point is this (and I hope that there is someone at CNN who figures this out), the Republicans have been asked to provide substantive critiques of the bill and they have provided nothing. All they have is stammering and grandstanding. This is why we voted them out.