Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Negotiations Hot and Heavy on the Stimulus Package

Hot and heavy indeed.

In conference, things are being hammered out. What does need to happen, in my opinion, is money removed from states to keep services going. Remember, firefighters, police, teachers, etc., are important to keep a community safe and going.

Democratic aides said that Obama's negotiating team had prevailed in restoring some lost funding for school construction projects during talks Tuesday, and had also increased aid to state governments above the $39 billion approved in a compromise with a handful of Senate GOP moderates.

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.

Earlier Tuesday, the Senate sailed to approval of its $838 billion economic stimulus bill, but with only three moderate Republicans signing on and then demanding the bill's cost go down when the final version emerges from negotiations.

Negotiators initially were working with a target of about $800 billion for the final bill, lawmakers said. But GOP moderate Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Tuesday night on MSNBC's "Hardball" that he was insisting on a figure at around $780 billion.

Baucus had said earlier that $35.5 billion to provide a $15,000 homebuyer tax credit, approved in the Senate last week, would be cut back. There was also pressure to reduce a Senate-passed tax break for new car buyers, according to Democratic officials.


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