House Dems Strip Stimulus of $200 Million Provision to Refurbish National Mall

On Tuesday evening the House Rules Committee stripped two provisions from the stimulus package: the family planning money that President Obama personally lobbied Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to remove yesterday, and the $200 million to refurbish the National Mall.

The move was made amidst a torrent of GOP criticism about wasteful or non-stimulative spending in the bill, including those two projects, as the President attemps to woo House GOPers.

The Rules Committee provisions -- "4) strikes funding for the National Mall Revitalization Fund; and (5) strikes section 5004 regarding family planning" -- are self-executing, meaning they become part of the stimulus bill when the House approves the rule tomorrow morning, as expected.

Earlier today White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the inclusion of the $200 million National Mall Revitalization Fund in the bill, saying, "when we met on the first day of our presidency, we were on the Mall. Right? 1.8 million people stood on the Mall, which happens to be the most visited national park that we have. Right? I think that you can make a very credible case and the economic team has, that reconditioning the National Mall will create jobs. Probably through spending in small businesses."

The move to remove the provision came after White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel hosted eleven relatively moderate House Republicans who hail from states where the stimulus package enjoys popular support, hoping to secure their support.

- jpt

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