The Senate, especially the Republicans therein, has made a big deal about the fact that they don't like the House version of the stimulus package. They've crafted their own version, which will have to be reconciled with the House version somehow, in conference. The differences between the two bills tell you a whole lot about what the Republicans in the Senate consider really, really important in these disastrous times.
There's a whole lot less aid to the states - $40 billion less. Apparently state governments should be left to cut services and lay people off. That'll help the economy a lot, that will, especially in the long term - $16 billion of the cuts will come out of school construction. (What is it about Republicans and education funding??)
Also helpful to the economy will be the absence of Medicaid coverage for the unemployed uninsured, cuts in Food Stamps, and the limitation of the child tax credit to families with wages of at least $8,100.
Since the bills spend about the same amount, what are the Repubs putting it into?? Tax cuts. $70 billion in alternative minimum tax relief - for one year. Believe me, poor people don't pay the AMT. The Repubs are also fond of the $15K tax credit for home buyers - Paul Krugman, in yesterday's N.Y. Times, calls it a "$15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses."
You people in states with Republican senators: write this stuff down, will you? And remember it, at the next election. Please remember that your senators didn't feel Medicaid and food stamps were important in a downturn. And then vote.