Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and other Democrats are expected to continue to fight for social safety-net spending they say is being shortchanged. Lincoln's battle for farm aid illustrates the uphill climb for Democrats in both chambers who want to save at least some of the $22.8 billion in domestic spending that the House added to a fiscal 2010 supplemental appropriations bill but the Senate rejected.
The problem is not need. It's concern over the budget deficit, a sluggish economy and an angry electorate. Previously, lawmakers in both chambers had tried to attach agriculture disaster assistance, money to settle discrimination claims by black farmers against the government, funding for summer jobs for youths and other requests to a measure extending tax and spending programs. The Senate ultimately whittled that measure to a $34 billion, six-month extension of enhanced unemployment benefits.