Diary

Spending Deal Done, But Liberals Still Look to Add Money

For House liberals, there can never be enough spending:

Some House Democrats are working furiously to reinstate funds the Senate cut from an $789 billion economic stimulus package speeding to the floor this week.

In particular, progressive Democrats and members of the Congressional Black Caucus would like to see more money for social spending programs that was cut from the Senate package over the weekend in a deal with three moderate Republican senators. It’s not clear if they will get all their wishes, but the deal announced this afternoon will be finalized in the coming hours.

The CBC sent House negotiators a letter Wednesday asking them to add an additional $4.2 billion for the federal government to lend states money to acquire foreclosed homes, another $4 billion for job-training programs and $14 billion for school construction.

They would also like to see more money for broadband Internet access for impoverished neighborhoods and protections in the bill to ensure minority-owned businesses will benefit.

“I’m all for bipartisanship, but I don’t consider three Republican senators bipartisan,” said Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who oversees economic recovery issues for the CBC. “Let’s not deny who we are legislatively for three senators.”

Some of the money is already being reinserted in the bill, Cleaver said, pointing to the money for states to buy foreclosed homes.

When will this bill be done?

If Congress votes on this plan tomorrow – as seems to be the current plan – there’s no way legislators can know what they’re voting on. That’s something that ought to concern Democrats as well as Republicans, who will have to answer to the voters for everything in the bill – whether they know it’s there or not.