Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose support is critical for the fate of the economic stimulus package, told President Obama Wednesday that billions of dollars of programs would need to be slashed from the bill in order to win bipartisan backing.
Emerging from a White House meeting, the two senators said they believed Obama was open to making changes to the bill, which has become the new president’s first big test in Congress. The senators – both moderates whose votes would help the Senate hit the critical 60 vote threshold on the stimulus -- met separately with the president on Wednesday afternoon....
Collins said she raised concerns over provisions that would do little to stimulate the economy, citing spending to upgrade facilities and information technology at the State Department, addressing pandemic flu spending and boosting cybersecurity. She called on such measures to go through the regular appropriations process, and she said the president acknowledged that some provisions added by lawmakers “do not really belong in the bill.”
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