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The latest in the stimulus debate

From NBC's Ken Strickland
A Republican senator in the bipartisan working group tells me they're optimistic there will be deal today over the items members would agree to cut. Then they would present the deal to the full Senate for a vote. 

That vote would be in the form of an amendment to the stimulus bill. (This member, who obviously didn't want to be identified, also said they're not sure they'll support it in the end.)

The senator also said the bipartisan agreement would probably not include as many GOP members that initially started in the discussions. In other words, there are probably some cuts that some GOP participants cannot support.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Dick Durbin told a handful of reporters moments ago that some of those proposed cuts would be "painful" for Democrats in the area of education and money to states. This raises the question of just how many Democrats would support amendment.

And remember this: The cost of this Senate version is now grown to about $920 billion. If the Nelson/Collins compromise cuts were accepted, it would drop the cost to about $820 billion. That's just about the same cost as the House-passed version, for which not a single Republican voted.

Stay tuned.