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Stimulus And Politics

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Stimulus And Politics

Analysis

Stimulus And Politics

Stimulus And Politics

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Scott Simon speaks with NPR political analyst Juan Williams about the status of the economic stimulus bill.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama's first major piece of legislation appears to have broken through a barrier in the U.S. Senate. Last night, several Republican senators struck a compromise with moderate Democrats on the president's massive economic stimulus bill. The deal means that there are, apparently, now enough votes in the Senate for the bill to move forward. In a moment, we'll hear from NPR's David Welna but first, joined in the studio by our friend, NPR News analyst Juan Williams. Juan, thanks for being with us.

JUAN WILLIAMS: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: What appears to have made the difference?

WILLIAMS: Well, there's a moderate group of Republicans, very small - we're talking about Susan Collins of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania - working with some Democrats who had questions about the size of the Obama proposal, which was up to nearly a trillion dollars, 920 billion. And so what they've done is cut about $100 billion out of that and principally, they're cutting it out of moneys that - was going to be sent to the states to help preserve school funding, as well as to help unemployed with some health-care benefits. So what you're going to get, then, is a bill that's about 820 billion in size. But of course, it's still got to go forward toward the House. A lot of pressure, though, increasingly from the White House, an agitated, more aggressive President Obama saying yesterday it's inexcusable for the Congress to get bogged down in terms of any small disagreements while unemployment soars to such heights.

SIMON: OK, Will, stay with us.

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