$789.5 billion: Stimulus deal reached

In keeping with the centrism-for-centrism’s-sake nature of the “compromise,” they appear to have settled on a dollar amount before settling on the actual mix of tax cuts and spending of which that dollar amount will be comprised. Sounds like some of the tax relief was shaved off, predictably, in order to make way for more education spending, but details are forthcoming. Stand by for updates.

Courtesy of this morning’s “Washington Journal,” here’s GOP Rep. Tom Price warning of deals being struck secretly in smoke-filled rooms. The boss and Red State are similarly peeved that the GOP wasn’t included in conference committee negotiations. But … why would they be? The final deal was always going to be some mix of the House and Senate bills, which collectively drew three Republican votes out of some 240 members of Congress. Snowe, Specter, and Collins were all in on these negotiations. At this point, they’re the only ones who count. Click the image to watch.

Update: Feel free to kid yourself that you might change their minds by calling or e-mailing them, but don’t be surprised if you find a busy signal.

“I haven’t gotten through. Calls are like 10-to-1 against,” sniffed one Senate aide. He’s annoyed as a result of having to actually “learn the phone numbers” of those offices he wants to call, instead of just dialing 0. Hardships.

A rep for Collins told us their offices are swamped, both in Maine and in D.C. Collins’ spokesman Kevin Kelley said most are calling to thank Collins for her support.

“I can’t tell you exactly how many calls we have received, though, if this is any indication, … we have three incoming lines which have been continuously busy for several days now, … and shortly after the voice mailbox is emptied, it fills again.”