Negotiators discuss $800 billion U.S. stimulus deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers worked late into the night on Tuesday haggling over a final package of tax cuts and spending initiatives, as talks centered on an $800 billion package to fight the deepening recession.

"We're not there, but we've made a significant amount of progress the last 10 hours," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters after he wrapped up Tuesday's final negotiating session.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he hoped an agreement could be reached on Wednesday, but declined to detail the progress made.

Earlier, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said during a pause in late-night meetings that "$800 billion is a figure that has been mentioned" by senators as a final price tag for the bill.

The negotiations in the Capitol, with White House officials attending, began shortly after the Senate passed its $838 billion version of a rescue plan to fight a year-old recession that brings mounting job losses nationwide.

The House of Representatives has approved about $820 billion in spending and tax cuts. The negotiations, by a small group of lawmakers from the Senate and House, are aimed at reconciling the two versions.

President Barack Obama wants the Democratic-controlled Congress to deliver a package by this weekend so he can sign it into law. But he must keep together a narrow coalition that wants the price tag lowered to about $800 billion.

The Senate voted 61-37 on Tuesday to approve its version, with support from just three Republicans, while the House had last month passed its package with no Republican support.

Obama met Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, at the White House earlier on Tuesday to discuss moving ahead and later the new president, on a visit to Florida to build support, called the Senate vote "good news."

On its own, the stimulus package is unlikely to fix the struggling economy because it does not address financial sector problems. As long as banks face losses and struggle to raise money, lending will be limited and so will economic growth.

The Obama administration is trying to address this problem on a separate track through a bank rescue program unveiled by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday.

WALL STREET UNIMPRESSED

But Wall Street reacted skeptically. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 382 points or 4.62 percent as traders cited fears that the new plan would not go far enough to resolve the financial crisis.

The House and Senate approved different mixes of income tax credits and tax incentives to rejuvenate the shattered housing market, as well as tens of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, healthcare and education.

To win the votes in the Senate needed to pass the stimulus bill, senators cut from its package tens of billions of dollars including $16 billion for school construction and $40 billion in direct aid to states facing growing budget gaps.

Those changes lured three Republicans who were needed to advance the bill in the Senate, where Democrats have only 58 of the 60 votes needed to clear potential procedural hurdles.

But in a sign of tough negotiations ahead, Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who helped broker the initial compromise, said she could not again vote for the measure if it stayed at the current size.

"I'm not saying what's in, what's out. I'm just saying the bottom line must be under $800 billion," she told reporters after the Senate vote.

But Obama has already said he wants some education funds restored to the package and other Democrats have said they believe it should have more spending included.

"There will be an effort to make some changes in the education sectors," said Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat. But he cautioned that Republicans were dead-set against federal money to build schools.

REPUBLICAN HELP NEEDED

He said that negotiators will need the approval of any new details by the three Republican senators who voted for the Senate bill: Collins, Olympia Snowe, also of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said provisions to offer $50 billion in tax breaks for buying a home or a new car would probably stay in but be modified.

"The main thing is the final conference report is going to be very similar to the Senate bill because that's where the votes are," he said.

Republicans have demanded the focus should be more on tax cuts than spending that they say will not boost the economy.

"It's entirely too large, entirely too untargeted and, more than anything else, it's not timely," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Obama has rejected the Republican push for more tax cuts, arguing such policies under former Republican President George W. Bush contributed to the current crisis.

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How many times must the corporate media get something completely wrong — and attack anyone who dares to disagree — before we realize who they have become?

On the radio program Friday, Glenn Beck shared an article from the Daily Caller titled, "Eight Anti-Trump Narratives the Media Finally Had to Admit Were False All Along." From the Lafayette Square controversy to the denial that COVID-19 could have anything to do with a lab in China to the "Russian bounties" story, the list of mainstream media conspiracy theories goes on and on. If it were anyone but the liberal media who got the facts this embarrassingly wrong, they would have been out of a job long ago.

Watch the video clip below to hear eight of the most anti-Trump the narratives shamelessly pushed by the media — that were completely wrong.


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Former President Barack Obama sat down with CNN's Anderson Cooper recently for an interview scheduled to air in full on Friday. During the interview, Obama scoffed at the idea that critical race theory could be a "threat to our Republic," while claiming that "right-wing media venues" are "stoking the fear and resentment of a white population."

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck set the record straight: the right-wing media's efforts to call out the far-left have nothing to do with race in America, but rather everything to do with protecting our way of life that is being threatened more and more each day by the radical, Marxist ideology seeping into government.

"Mr. Obama, you lied," Glenn asserted. "You used the IRS to hunt down your enemy. You spied on the media. And your health care package, which was supposed to save every American $3,000 per year, has helped some, perhaps, while raising the cost of everyone's health care in double and triple percentages. But the worst thing that you did, is you planted, you watered, and you protected the Marxist seeds, by crying race."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

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Our sacred republic has never been in more danger than it is today. Little by little, industry by industry, the far Left is fundamentally transforming the country we love. And it's an aggressive, hostile kind of takeover we've only seen in some of the world's darkest societies.

On Glenn TV this week, Glenn Beck exposes how the Biden administration and Democrats are aggressively scrambling to reset everything: our free and fair voting system, our kids' education, our policing, immigration and border security, our economy, our military, and our energy supply.

Finally, Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) joins to discuss how Biden's "woke" policies are threatening America's national security and our way of life.

Watch the full episode below:

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Apparel company The North Face recently stated that it would no longer make jackets for oil and gas companies because it doesn't want to be associated with the fossil fuel industry. In response, Colorado-based oil and gas company Liberty Oilfield Services rented full billboard ads to remind The North Face of the truth: "Globally, 60% of all clothing fibers are made out of oil and gas. For North Face, it is likely 90% or more."

Liberty CEO Chris Wright joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss just how much of our economy — beyond outdoor apparel and energy — wouldn't exist in a world without fossil fuels. And he warns that many companies are now deeming this truth to be "controversial."

"I have been for years, trying to get a real, honest dialogue about energy going," Chris told Glenn. "So we took this opportunity to point out that North Face jackets are ... almost completely made out of oil and gas. How can you choose not to associate with the essential material your equipment [is] made out of? So we put a billboard up ... the billboard says, 'That North Face puffer looks good on you. And it was made from fossil fuels.'"

"Most billboard companies did not want to run that billboard. They thought it was controversial," he added. "And Facebook put a hold on our brief video just saying the jacket looks good, this is what it's made out of. In today's world, that is controversial."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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