Latest CutsFebruary 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw
MSNBC’s First Read reports that the Nelson/Collins proposal for cutting approximately $100 billion from the stimulus package is complete. The proposal will be introduced as an amendment and voted on later tonight, though there might not be enough support for it to pass (more on how voting is shaping up here).
There has not been an official announcement of what will be in the amendment, but Greg Sargent at The Plum Line has obtained an internal Senate committee memo, circulated this morning, that is probably pretty close:
>Total Reductions: $80 billion
>Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps
>Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion
>Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding
Among the changes in this memo from the Nelson-Collins document circulated yesterday are the food stamps cuts and the new defense spending.
UPDATE: Bill Scher:
>Economist Mark Zandi’s analysis of effective stimulus makes it crystal clear that the Top 4 Most Effective Stimulus, in order, are: Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Infrastructure, and State Government Aid.
It’s still unclear what will be in the final Nelson-Collins amendment, but judging from the documents leaked over the past few days, flat out cuts to food stamps and state government aid, and reductions to infrastructure spending, are definitely on the table.
UPDATE 2: Subscription-only Congress Daily on the current Nelson-Collins whip count:
>Nelson said the holdouts are Republicans, and the group now appears focused on shoring up support from GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, George Voinovich of Ohio, Olympia Snowe of Maine and perhaps Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The goal is it to pick up four Republican votes, allowing passage of the overall bill with 62 votes, Nelson said. Democrats need 60 votes to pass the measure. Senate aides today have drafted several alternative versions of the amendment, but Nelson said despite the different approaches, “the bottom line is essentially the same.” Those differences include questions over how to ensure federal aid for primary education, and whether to allocate federal Medicaid aid for states beyond the two-year window in the bill. The latter is a key issue for Republicans, who contend that measure will exacerbate the problem of unfunded liabilities for Medicaid and other entitlement programs. Collins said late Thursday she does not want the top line to exceed $800 billion, and that it should exclude items that would otherwise be funded in appropriations bills.
Shifting gears from behind-the-scenes negotiation to action on the Senate floor, follow Senatus for the play-by-play on amendments this afternoon.