Amongst of the pork that the Republicans apparently couldn't get rid of:
CNN reports that a $827billion deal has been reached on the stimulus. Of course, anything can happen between now and Tuesday, when it's supposed to be voted on. Republicans remain, for the most part, very opposed to this latest version of the plan, but Harry Reid seems pretty confident (and cocky) that he can get a couple of GOPers to vote for it--needless to say Arlen Specter being one of them. In the meantime, whatever Republicans can do to cut Nancy Pelosi's other liberal pet projects from this plan would be fine by me.
President Obama's proposed economic stimulus plan makes a deliberate – and unconstitutional – attempt to censor religious speech and worship on school campuses across the nation, according to a lawyer who argued related cases before the U.S. Supreme Court 20 years ago and won them all.
"This isn't like a convenient oversight. This is intentional. This legislation pokes its finger in the eyes of people who hold religious beliefs," Jay Sekulow, chief of the American Center for Law and Justice, told WND today.
His was the organization that decades ago argued on behalf of speech freedom on school campuses, winning repeatedly at the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, the 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central decision was added, clarifying that restricting religious speech within the context of public shared-use facilities is unconstitutional.
The problem in the proposed stimulus bill comes from a provision that states: "PROHIBITED USES OF FUNDS. - No funds awarded under this section may be used for - (C) modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities - (i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or (ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission."
The wording that specifically targets religious speech already has been approved by the majority Democrats in the U.S. House – all GOP members opposed it. In the Senate, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., proposed an amendment to eliminate it, but again majority Democrats decided to keep the provision targeting religious instruction and activities.