HARRIS: Let's make a deal. Negotiators say they could agree on a final version of the massive stimulus bill as early as today.Certainly that's not great news for the more than 200 economists who've voiced their opposition, saying in a public statement:
Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash is on phone from Capitol Hill.
Dana, really, by today? Is that possible?
DANA BASH, CNN NEWS SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPODNENT: Their cautiously optimistic. I think we should stress the word cautious. I'm sitting in the hall of the capitol down the hall from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office. And there is a huge meeting going on, it's even going on for 24 hours. The White House has said the budget director said many some of the key centrist Senators who really hold a lot of power between the House and Senate on the president's stimulus package.
I can tell you, talking some of the Senators going into this meeting, Tony, it looks like they are now working on an overall spending bill that's lowered a little bit, about $789 billion. But I'm cautioned that this number could change as these talks continue.
One other interesting note is, you know, we've been talking about the issue of education, and that House Democrats were not happy that the Senate sliced some of their education funding, particularly nearly $20 billion in school construction. Well, they're trying to figure out a way to keep that money, keep it - change it a little bit in terms of how it will be spent on schools. So that gives you a sense of some of the things (INAUDIBLE) going on in these intense, intense negotiations. I got to tell you, they've been going on all night through last night and into this morning.
HARRIS: Boy, that's kind of encouraging that the deal could be struck. There is a possibility that it could be struck today, and that it could come in with a lower price tag.
All right, our Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, for us. Dana, appreciate it. Great news, thank you.
Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance.
Nor is it great news for people who don't see how millions for digital converter boxes, organizations like ACORN, and tax rebates for illegal aliens will put millions of Americans to work.
Such concerns have done little to dampen the enthusiasm for the stimulus package at CNN. They are true believers.