Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009 | 2:48 p.m.
WASHINGTON -- State funds for education and other needs got a boost in the tentative congressional compromise reached this afternoon over President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan, but $20 billion in school construction funds remain scrubbed out.
In announcing the $789 billion deal, negotiators restored $15 billion to the so-called state stabilization fund, bringing the total to $54 billion. Nevada and other states can use the money to pay for education or other needs.
But the amount would still be well below the $79 billion the House-passed legislation provided.
Even more, the compromise package goes without the $20 billion in school construction and modernization funds the House bill offered. Those funds had been zeroed out in the Senate version of the bill.
President Barack Obama has made the school renovation funds a top priority, and mentioned the value in creating top-notch schools that will help students while also stimulating the economy with new jobs.
Negotiators said the enhanced state stabilization money could be used for school renovation and modernization, but Senate moderates and Republicans were unwilling to create a new federal expenditure for campus construction -- typically a local pursuit.