Senate stimulus: Fewer funds for feds


A group of Republican and Democratic senators trimmed nearly $100 billion from the economic stimulus package over the last few days. Most economists say the cuts are a bad idea, because the smaller the stimulus bill, the less stimulative its effect on the economy. (Think of driving up an icy hill: If you’re not going fast enough, you slide back down.)

Federal managers might not like the cuts, either: The revised Senate stimulus plan eliminates billions of dollars that were allocated for federal agencies.

One of the biggest cuts will hurt the General Services Administration. The House stimulus bill gives GSA almost $7 billion to make federal buildings more energy-efficient. The Senate version cuts that in half — to $3.5 billion.

Other items cut from the Senate plan:

  • $122 million for the Coast Guard’s new polar icebreakers;
  • $200 million for new screening equipment for the Transportation Security Administration;
  • $75 million from the Smithsonian, which the institution would have used for capital improvements (the House bill included $150 million);
  • $200 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program;
  • $200 million for the National Science Foundation;
  • $1 billion for Head Start.

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