Stimulus Compromise Cuts Education Spending

Published on
by
The Detroit Free Press

Stimulus Compromise Cuts Education Spending

by
Todd Spangler

WASHINGTON -- Some more
details are available for the compromise stimulus package expected to
be voted on in the U.S. Senate early next week and they show that much
of the cuts came at the expense of education spending.

A
compromise deal between majority Democrats and a handful of Republicans
was announced Friday evening, with spending on the legislation being
cut to $780 billion from what had ballooned to more than $920 billion.
With three or four Republicans on board, Democrats believe they can
break the 60-vote barrier and move the package President Obama has been
calling on to jumpstart the struggling economy.

Sen.
Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat involved in the compromise negotiations
with Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of
Pennsylvania, posted a breakdown on his Web site showing that the
compromise cuts all $16 billion from the original bill for K-12 school
construction, trims more than $1 billion from Head Start programs for
youngsters and cuts $40 billion from a $79 billion proposal to help
states pay education costs while trying to balance their own budgets.

Some $3.5 billion would be cut for work on higher education facilities as well.

Speaking
Friday night, Michigan's senators - Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie
Stabenow -- both said that while much of the cuts were in education, it
still provided more funding for education than the federal government
does for education programs in its typical annual budget. And the
stimulus plan will be in addition to the regular budget to be approved
later in the year.

Debate on the bill was expected to continue on the Senate floor today.

Public
housing and poor neighborhoods may have taken a hit too in the
compromise. The breakdown shows $1.25 billion less to make public
housing more energy efficient -- leaving $2.25 billion for that purpose
-- and all of a $2.25 billion request to help stabilize neighborhoods
by buying up abandoned or neglected properties would be cut.

Also
cut was $5.8 billion in money for programs to help prevent disease. It
was also expected that the bill -- when it passes the Senate -- would
make some changes to an income tax cut and a program for the federal
government to pay a portion of the premium that would allow people
losing their jobs to keep their health insurance from their former
employers.

Republican
had argued throughout the week that the legislation was too expensive
and included spending that would not create jobs. On Friday night, most
of their number in the Senate continued to make that complaint, though
it appeared enough GOP members were swayed to ensure passage.

A
final vote was expected early in the week, perhaps Tuesday -- which
would set up a conference committee with the House to hammer out
differences.

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