Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The Senate is currently voting on proposed amendments to the economic stimulus bill. The one amendment everyone has their eye on is an offering from centrist senators Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) that could cut as much as $100 billion in spending, including a large chuck of green funding.

TPM has a draft of the proposed cuts. Some highlights for the Grist audience:

  • $1 billion cut to the money for renewable energy and efficiency going to the Department of Energy, bringing total stimulus amount to $1.6 billion.
  • Nearly half of the $9.5 billion for energy technology loan guarantees would be sliced, along with $590 million in cuts to other water and energy projects.
  • $5.5 billion for the surface transportation grant program (which could be used for mass transit programs) would be eliminated.
  • $400 million designated for climate change research, which was the subject of derision by House Republicans last week.
  • Completely cut $100 million for Pentagon spending on alternative vehicle technology.
  • $427 million cut from NOAA, bringing total stimulus amount to around $800 million.

The Nelson-Collins plan is an effort to bring Republicans and some skeptical Democrats on board with the stimulus package. Specific cuts are still in flux; it’s possible that they could change significantly before a final vote.

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“Legislation is the art of compromise,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor Thursday night. “That’s where we are … I would hope that in the next 12 hours we can have a piece of legislation that we agree on.”