The Nelson-Collins Cuts

By Brian Beutler

Josh Marshall got a hold of the Collins-Nelson group staff paper, outlining almost $80 billion in potential cuts to the stimulus. Maybe none of it will matter–Reid now seems to think he has the votes. But I just wanted to highlight a couple that jumped out at me:

No, please.

Update: Ryan Grim has more at HuffPo:

A discussion draft prepared by Nelson’s staff has been circulating and became public Thursday.A House Republican aide provided the Huffington Post with a copy of Nelson’s proposed cuts. The draft calls for billions in funding cuts for education, child care, law enforcement, Pell grants and aid to states, among other suggestions. The cuts total nearly $80 billion. See the document here.

Nelson spokesman Jack Thompson called the document irrelevant. “It’s several days old and not necessarily reflective of what’s in the bill. I don’t think it’s accurate to cite anything in the list. There isn’t a working plan that’s before them,” he told the Huffington Post.

“There have been changes made to the plan,” Thompson emphasized. The negotiations are ongoing, he said, and he wasn’t sure what specific changes had been made.

So: a). What Josh got a hold of isn’t necessarily reflective of what Collins and her posse might want to slash, and b). these items, and the numbers next to them, might no longer be operational. But it gives you a sense of what’s in the air. For instance, on page seven, Nelson lists Pell grants, but then recommends cutting them by zero percent, which suggests to me at least that the idea of slashing Pell has been floating around. Also, if the Nelson Democrats’ version of stimulus wouldn’t include the nearly $25 billion in state stabilization funds (which can be used to plug shortfalls of all kinds), then you can imagine what the Collins Republican version will look like.