Bipartisan Push to Trim Size of Stimulus Plan; Rural Broadband on the Chopping Block

A bipartisan group of senators worked furiously in backroom negotiations on Thursday to cut the cost of the more than $920 billion economic stimulus plan. Senate Democratic leaders said they would await the outcome of those talks before calling for a final vote on the measure, perhaps on Friday. The group has drafted a list of nearly $90 billion in cuts, including $40 billion in aid for states, more than $14 billion for various education programs, $4.1 billion to make federal buildings energy efficient and $1.5 billion for broadband Internet service in rural areas. They say they want to trim provisions that would not quickly create jobs or encourage spending by consumers and businesses. Additional items on the chopping block: $39.8 billion for state education departments to shore up school budgets. $14 billion for education programs, including special education and Head Start. $9.5 billion for Energy Department programs, including an environmental cleanup fund. $6.5 billion for space exploration, science programs and grants for local crime-fighting efforts.



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