Democrats mull cuts to schools in stimulus plan

GOP delivered list of proposed cuts to $79 billion fund for states to give to schools, await Democrats' response.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)

How low would home prices have to go before you'd consider investing in real estate?
  • 10% lower
  • 20% lower
  • I'm already looking
  • I would not consider buying right now at any price

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A key compromise over the $900 billion economic recovery plan entered a pivotal phase Friday, with Democrats wrestling over potential cuts to the proposal that include billions slashed from education spending.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and other Republicans in an early morning meeting told CNN Radio that they've handed over a list of potential cuts to Democratic leaders and are waiting for a response.

"The ball's really in their court," Collins said. A few hours later she walked out of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office smiling and told reporters, "We're close."

The number two Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, confirmed Democrats are now tackling a tough debate over cutting what they see as core programs. He singled out education as one of the largest areas of potential cuts, and one of the hardest for Democrats to swallow.

"It's a painful area for all of us as Democrats, to make these cuts in education assistance," he said.

Durbin said there are "substantial" proposed cuts to a $79 billion fund created to help states deal with the economic crisis by giving them more money for schools.

Putting more pressure on Senators was news Friday that employers slashed another 598,000 jobs off of U.S. payrolls in January, taking the unemployment rate up to 7.6%.

President Obama seized on the report to renew the push for his stimulus plan.

"I am sure that at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, members of the Senate are reading these same numbers," Obama said.

"I hope they share my sense of urgency and draw the same, unmistakable conclusion: The situation could not be more serious. These numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay, or politics as usual while millions of Americans are being put out of work.

The frenzy of meetings over the economic recovery plan have shifted into yet a higher, and more powerful gear.

White House budget director Peter Orszag left a morning meeting in Reid's office, but would not comment on negotiations. The change of location is notable. Senators who were meeting in their office buildings Thursday are now negotiating directly with Reid, the leader of the Senate, just outside the chamber doors.

As a handful of Republicans talk compromise, their former flag bearer and presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, warned that the rest of the GOP may not be on board.

"You cannot call a bill bipartisan if it has two or three or four or even five Republicans out of 535 members in Congress," McCain told the Senate floor.

The remarks seemed aimed at Friday's early meeting of five Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Mel Martinez, R-Florida, Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania and George Voinovich, R-Ohio.

Those working for compromise face a parliamentary deadline. Reid has set in motion a procedure that would force a key vote on the stimulus bill by Saturday at the latest. To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.