Is This Sorry Saga Finally Over?

The American Center for Law and Justice, which was entirely responsible for starting the “controversy” over a supposedly “anti-religious” provision in the stimulus bill, reports that the provision, along with many others, was cut from the legislation that passed the Senate earlier this week as part of the effort to shrink the bill’s size and price tag:

As you may know, the Senate voted and approved an economic stimulus package yesterday by a vote of 61-to-37. The version that was approved underwent dramatic budget-cutting representing billions of dollars cut from a wide variety of programs that were eliminated from the final version that was approved by the Senate. Among those programs cut, billions of dollars for colleges and universities, including the discriminatory provision that we opposed.

It’s unfortunate that the Senate lacked the courage to remove this provision because of its discriminatory nature. At the same time, though, we’re pleased it was eliminated – even if for budget-cutting reasons – from the final package that was approved.

Now, budget conferees are working to reconcile that Senate-approved version with the measure already passed by the House. What comes out of this process will be the final version that ultimately will be signed into law by President Obama. It’s our hope that this discriminatory provision will never see the light of day in this final version. We will keep you posted on developments.

Indeed, it looks like the ACLJ is correct. If you look at the version of the bill [PDF] passed by the Senate, this is what you see:

It’s disappointing to see the provision go, for a variety of reasons … but mostly because it would have been fun to watch ACLJ’s lawsuit get laughed out of court.