To win over a few key Republican votes, a small group of Senators has recommended about $108 billion in cuts from an economic stimulus package that had grown to more than $900 billion. The major construction program casualty is the original Senate stimulus bill's $19.5 billion for school construction funding, which the team of lawmakers deleted.
In all, a team led by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) trimmed $108 billion from the bill as it was introduced earlier. Cuts in spending accounted for $83 billion of the reductions and $25 billion came from cuts in tax incentives. Senate Democratic leaders have made the slimmed-down stimulus the version they're seeking to pass. Democrats need at least two Republicans to ensure Senate approval, and they are counting on the votes of Collins and Arlen Specter (Pa.), another GOP lawmaker involved in the group that recommended the cutbacks.