Congress is no longer a house divided . . . for now. This afternoon the House and Senate tentatively reconciled their stimulus packages — and they managed to cut the bill by billions, settling on a grand total of $789 billion.
So what's in and what's out?
- The bill includes $150 billion in spending on infrastructure.
- An estimated 35 percent will go to pure tax cuts.
- The compromise threw out $35 billion from a proposed state fiscal stabilization fund, and eliminated $16 billion in aid for school construction.
- The bill preserves a tax break for millions of lower and middle income taxpayers, including those who don't earn enough to pay income taxes.
- The House kept its 65 percent subsidy to help laid-off workers meet COBRA payments to maintain health insurance. The Senate had wanted a 50 percent subsidy.
- Tax incentives for home and car buyers were significantly cut.
- Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and veterans' pension recipients will get a one-time payment, less than the $300 originally proposed by the Senate.
All the details have yet to emerge and some Democrats (and almost every Republican) aren't happy with the final version. Even so, leaders say the compromise bill will create or save 3.5 million jobs. Are you happy lawmakers made a deal?