The Christian Science Monitor sees a rural vs. urban battle in the stimulus bills produced by the Senate and the House. Gail Russell Chaddock reports:
“(T)he House bill provides $13 billion to allow states to expand Medicaid to cover the unemployed through 2010, along with $87 billion to boost state Medicaid programs. The Senate version does not expand coverage for the unemployed and changes the formula for distributing the funds to favor rural states. That urban-rural fight, a perennial one between the House and Senate, is likely to be a flash point in conference talks. The House bill reserves 50 percent of total new healthcare spending for states that have lost the most jobs, such as California and Michigan. The Senate version lowers that formula to 20 percent.”
The two bills also differ slightly in energy policy. The House bill provides $8 billion in loan guarantees for renewable-energy projects. The Senate bill cuts that by $1 billion.