By Vicki Needham - 05/27/10 04:09 PM EDT
During intense talks between House and Senate Democratic leadership, the cost of the tax and social spending package was cut from $200 billion to $143 billion, slashing its effect on the deficit by $50 billion to $84 billion, from an initial $134 billion.
That wasn't enough for Blue Dogs, who want even less deficit spending on the measure that would revive expired tax cuts and provide for an extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA insurance through November.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats tossed around the idea of amending the already revised House bill, putting the bill into dangerous political waters — forcing two House votes on the measure when support is in doubt to even pass it the first time around.
The legislation went through the House Rules Committee late Wednesday night and could reach the House floor at any time — or when Democrats have 218 votes to pass the measure.