Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2009

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT?.... It appears a compromise is in place for an economic stimulus package that the House and Senate can (and presumably, will) pass.

Democratic negotiators have reached agreement on reducing the overall cost of President Obama's economic stimulus plan, scaling it down to $789.5 billion, a net reduction of almost $50 billion from what the Senate approved yesterday, according to a senior adviser familiar with the talks.

House and Senate negotiators, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Calif.), were huddling this morning trying to iron out the final details on the massive package in advance of a formal House-Senate conference this afternoon in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Room off the Senate floor. Democrats hope the conference will produce quick agreement and set the legislation on a glide path to passage in the House Thursday and the Senate over the weekend.

While the notion of Democrats making the bill even smaller may sound discouraging, reports suggest changes have been made in the right direction. Tax cuts, including tax credits for home and car purchases, are being scaled back. At least some -- it's unclear at this point exactly how much -- of the aid to struggling states will be restored, as will $6 billion in lost funding for school construction, repair, and modernization

There will be a formal meeting of negotiators in about two hours, at which point they will hopefully shake hands and complete the deal.

If all goes well this afternoon, we'll see a House vote tomorrow and a Senate vote Friday. Stay tuned.

Steve Benen 1:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Comments

Put back the COBRA subsidies.

It's one thing we know will serve it's intended purpose.

We don't want the recently unemployed and the soon to be unemployed being crippled by health care costs.

It's a stop gap, but a damned good one.

Posted by: lobbygow on February 11, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ditto on the COBRA. I got laid off at the end of December, and my COBRA payments are approx. $450/mo. Can't really afford it, but can't afford to be without health insurance, either.

Posted by: Michael W on February 11, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what Republicans were involved in the negotiations? There are only three of the 219 in Congress that matter, right? And I'm glad they dumped Isakson's home buyer's credit. They should have also dumped the AMT fix. I keep hoping Rachel Maddow will ask someone why it's in there. I know no one else will.

Posted by: Danp on February 11, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Gasp. It's exactly what I hoped would happen. Keep the package size, lose the tax cuts and put the state aid back. At least in part.

The three Senators can't complain about the size of the package. And they can't argue that they need those tax cuts to lure Republican votes, because those votes aren't forthcoming anyway.

Hmmmmm......I need to call my Senator since he's one of the only ones that count....

Posted by: zmulls on February 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

With respect to Obama's ability at playing "rope-a-dope" that was discussed yesterday, it should really shocking to you liberals and quite amusing to us conservatives that the passage of his stimulus package would come to rest in the hands of Specter and the two girls from Maine. (Not to mention any red state Dem Senators who may be up in 2010 who are feeling the heat back home.) If two out of three of them are not happy and don't support the final outcome, then no bill.

Makes one wonder who exactly is the dope in this scenario doesn't it? lol

Posted by: Chicounsel on February 11, 2009 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

no, chicounsel, we don't wonder. we know exactly who the dope is. too bad you don't have a clue.

Posted by: just bill on February 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Makes one wonder who exactly is the dope in this scenario doesn't it?

Check the mirror, it's always you in every scenario. They're not gonna oppose a bill that's even less than what the Senate passed, and they're not gonna risk an even worse recession by doing nothing and assuring their defeat.
It's gonna pass. Obama wins and you lose again, as usual. LOL

Posted by: Allan Snyder on February 11, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

zmulls beat me to it. Now let Collins, Snowe, Specter, Nelson, et al., say why they don't want a smaller bill.

Just hope that the changes in a good direction have been sufficiently great that the smaller package is as stimulative as the old one.

Posted by: David in NY on February 11, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

...and you'd think we would have progressed beyond referring to women in the United States Senate as "girls". Sheesh.

Posted by: Stevan on February 11, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel, it seems you laugh out loud all the time. I wondered if it might be that you're a merry fellow at heart, but then I remembered that hyenas laugh out loud all the time, and that fits better.,.

Posted by: DavidNOE on February 11, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

but then I remembered that hyenas laugh out loud all the time, and that fits better.,.

That so tops the "12-year-old-girl" crack I was going to get around to formulating.

Posted by: Blue Girl on February 11, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

You can scale Johnny Isakson's home-buyer's tax credit all the way back to 0 as far as I'm concerned.

Every amendment has to have a fail-safe provision that it will not be adopted unless it's sponsor votes for the final bill.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 11, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

One of the Maine-iacs (can't remember which one) is already saying that it's not the *size* that matters, but the particulars. That suggests she doesn't like the reallocation, even if the total is less. Grassley, OTOH, is saying that the restitution of money towards construction (schools) make him happy.

When it comes to voting, it may turn out that not the same 3 Repubs will be the important ones as had been in the negotiations.

Posted by: exlibra on February 11, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and give Chico (Unsel) a (Chiquita) banana and it might keep him happy. Don't know where y'all got an idea that his handle has anything to do with lawyering (as in "counsel")...

Posted by: exlibra on February 11, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

From an AP report, it sure doesn't sound like Collins (one of the three Repubs) is backing away, to the contrary--

Collins told reporters she hoped fellow GOP lawmakers would reconsider when the final compromise comes to a vote "rather than just reflexively oppose this."

She said the negotiators had "tightened and scrubbed it" to eliminate wasteful spending.

Obviously she knows how stupid it would look to oppose a bill that costs less than the one she just approved.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on February 11, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

"quite amusing to us conservatives that the passage of his stimulus package would come to rest in the hands of Specter and the two girls from Maine. (Not to mention any red state Dem Senators who may be up in 2010 who are feeling the heat back home.) If two out of three of them are not happy and don't support the final outcome, then no bill."

No, they get to take center stage and explain their reasons for being the sole obstruction to relief for millions of Americans. If the Democrats are smart, they will really ratchet up the debate and put the heat on these idiots.

Bring it on!!

Posted by: bdop4 on February 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

It would make sense to keep the 'Gang of Three' in the loop while negotiations are going on

Hopefully, they did
If Aid to States and Education can be restored, that would be great

Those are the things that will halt the slide into recession

In California, Gonad the Barbarian is threatening to lay off thousands of State workers if the budget isn't passed by Friday

That'd have a big impact on the economy

Hopefully, the package will get done by PResident's Day

Posted by: MSierra on February 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel wrote: it should really shocking to you liberals and quite amusing to us conservatives that the passage of his stimulus package would come to rest in the hands of Specter and the two girls from Maine.

You really are stupid, aren't you? No, dumbass, given that suspension of the PAYGO rules requires 60 votes and the Dems don't have that yet, it was entirely expected and predicted that the stimulus would need to attract the support of some of the exceedingly small non-insane minority of the Republican Party.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on February 11, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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