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Possible Senate Deal on Stimulus

The moderate Democrats and Republicans who are negotiating over a deal that would make cuts to the U.S. Senate's original economic-stimulus package are reportedly close to a tentative agreement.

I'm hearing rumors that, compared with the original Senate version released late last month, the deal now on the table would sizably scale back increases to education, even more than predicted as recently as yesterday. It appears, though, that the legislation would still provide a one-time boost in money for special education.

Yet it looks like the House Democrats, whose bill would provide between $120 billion for $150 billion, are getting worried. A spokeswoman for Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., sent this e-mail to reporters, referring to the $79 billion state stabilization fund that was in both the House and original Senate versions of the bill, much of which would go to education:

Rumors are that today the Senate is going to cut billions of dollars out of the state stabilization funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These are the funds that help states preserve vital services and jobs as they face a budget crunch - it makes no sense to have states raising taxes and cutting spending at the same time that the federal government is trying to turn the economy around by cutting taxes and putting more money into the economy.

Sounds like the House lawmakers are already going on the offensive. More details as we have them...

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