According to Huffington Post's Michael McAuliff, here are some things about the final bill that got rid of things the Republicans tried to put in:
- Prevents policy riders that would have restricted funding for Planned Parenthood and eliminated funding for Title X family planning programs, severely limiting women’s access to health care.
- Prevents restrictions that would have reversed President Obama’s policy allowing family travel and money remittances to Cuba.
- Saves 60,000 New Head Start slots created by the stimulus act and spends more than $550 million for the Race to the Top program.
- Boosts the Student Aid Administration with nearly $50 million in new funding for loan servicing and collections.
- Preserves the AmeriCorps program by stopping a GOP provision that would have cut the program.
Republicans are pointing to some things they got: delaying the phase-out of 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, putting some restrictions on funding for Obama's "czars," cutting the budget overall, and putting some restrictions on funding for the U.N.
These are not insignificant, but all considered it seems like a win for the Democrats.
On the other hand, concerning the separate bill on the payroll tax cut extension, the Republicans can claim a win in Obama's backing off his threat to veto the payroll tax cut extension if the Repubs insisted on forcing a decision on the XL Keystone pipeline approval. The final Senate bill on that extends the tax cut for 2 months and also forces a decision on the pipeline within 2 months. So it will all come back again in February.
The White House is spinning this as not a cave-in at all. It doesn't require the president to do anything that was not already planned -- it just shortens the time for the environmental review process. Of course, the unspoken thing is that the delay (in addition to their being a real concern about the environmental impact) would have taken it out of the presidential political process. Now it forces a decision during the campaign.
All in all, not as bad as I feared though.