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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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The Senate has just voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

 

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session

 

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

 

Vote Summary

 

Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 1 as Amended )

Vote Number: 61

Vote Date: February 10, 2009, 12:27 PM

Required For Majority: 1/2

Vote Result: Bill Passed

Measure Number: H.R. 1 (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 )

 

Measure Title: A bill making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.

Vote Counts:

 

YEAs 61

 

YEAs ---61

Akaka (D-HI)

Baucus (D-MT)

Bayh (D-IN)

Begich (D-AK)

Bennet (D-CO)

Bingaman (D-NM)

Boxer (D-CA)

Brown (D-OH)

Burris (D-IL)

Byrd (D-WV)

Cantwell (D-WA)

Cardin (D-MD)

Carper (D-DE)

Casey (D-PA)

Collins (R-ME)

Conrad (D-ND)

Dodd (D-CT)

Dorgan (D-ND)

Durbin (D-IL)

Feingold (D-WI)

Feinstein (D-CA)

Gillibrand (D-NY)

Hagan (D-NC)

Harkin (D-IA)

Inouye (D-HI)

Johnson (D-SD)

Kaufman (D-DE)

Kennedy (D-MA)

Kerry (D-MA)

Klobuchar (D-MN)

Kohl (D-WI)

Landrieu (D-LA)

Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Leahy (D-VT)

Levin (D-MI)

Lieberman (ID-CT)

Lincoln (D-AR)

McCaskill (D-MO)

Menendez (D-NJ)

Merkley (D-OR)

Mikulski (D-MD)

Murray (D-WA)

Nelson (D-FL)

Nelson (D-NE)

Pryor (D-AR)

Reed (D-RI)

Reid (D-NV)

Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sanders (I-VT)

Schumer (D-NY)

Shaheen (D-NH)

Snowe (R-ME)

Specter (R-PA)

Stabenow (D-MI)

Tester (D-MT)

Udall (D-CO)

Udall (D-NM)

Warner (D-VA)

Webb (D-VA)

Whitehouse (D-RI)

Wyden (D-OR)

 

NAYs ---37

 

Alexander (R-TN)

Barrasso (R-WY)

Bennett (R-UT)

Bond (R-MO)

Brownback (R-KS)

Bunning (R-KY)

Burr (R-NC)

Chambliss (R-GA)

Coburn (R-OK)

Cochran (R-MS)

Corker (R-TN)

Cornyn (R-TX)

Crapo (R-ID)

DeMint (R-SC)

Ensign (R-NV)

Enzi (R-WY)

Graham (R-SC)

Grassley (R-IA)

Hatch (R-UT)

Hutchison (R-TX)

Inhofe (R-OK)

Isakson (R-GA)

Johanns (R-NE)

Kyl (R-AZ)

Lugar (R-IN)

Martinez (R-FL)

McCain (R-AZ)

McConnell (R-KY)

Murkowski (R-AK)

Risch (R-ID)

Roberts (R-KS)

Sessions (R-AL)

Shelby (R-AL)

Thune (R-SD)

Vitter (R-LA)

Voinovich (R-OH)

Wicker (R-MS)

 

Not Voting - 1

 

Gregg (R-NH)

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Guest Senator Lamar Alexander

This bill is a colossal mistake,” Alexander said. “This is still mostly a spending bill, not a stimulus bill. Even worse, it borrows an unprecedented amount of money – $1.2 trillion – spent mostly on projects that don’t create jobs in the near term. We need a stimulus bill, but one that fixes housing first, lets taxpayers keep more of their own money, and spends borrowed money only on programs that create jobs quickly.

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Guest Senator John Barrasso

After only eight days of debate, the Senate passed a bill to expand government spending by more than a trillion dollars, increase government debt and escalate government control in the lives of Americans, all under the guise of stimulating the economy, according to U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo.

 

The Senate passed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R. 1, a bill commonly known as the stimulus package, by a vote of 61-37 today. Enzi and Barrasso voted against the bill. Differences between the House and Senate bill will now be worked out in a conference committee.

 

“This bill is bailout baloney. The U.S. government, the big credit card in the sky, has already maxed out its credit card but the bank hasn’t noticed and the government is now applying for another card with a higher spending limit. Our government will spend the whole income on interest, leading us to an endless cycle of spending and debt. Bankruptcy is not an option for our country - and so, neither is this bill. Unfortunately, after today’s vote, that is where we are headed,” said Enzi.

 

“Now is not the time to put every Christmas wish every politician has had on the government credit card. Not only will the interest keep going and eat us alive, much of what we are buying has to continue to be fed to have any value. If you build a shovel ready swimming pool people still have to be hired to maintain it when finished. That is a continuing expense, not a temporary expenditure. People hired to new government jobs will have to be paid every year because we all know a government job rarely goes away but increases in cost each year.”

 

“This is the largest spending bill in the history of our country, and it’s being rushed through Congress. We are firing all of our bullets at once. If the plan doesn’t work, we’ll be out of ammunition. Either way, America will be paying off this enormous debt for generations.,” said Barrasso.

 

“We need solutions that are timely, targeted and temporary. In Wyoming we work hard and we pay our taxes. Instead of pulling on our boots and going to work, America is now being put in to a financial straightjacket. While many of the programs in this legislation may have merit on their own, they simply do not belong in an economic stimulus package.”

 

Changes

 

“There are actions Congress can take that will help our economy. We could have real and positive impact from a series of bills for very limited, targeted solutions - believable solutions. Bills done one at a time, bills of a size more understandable, free from the pent up spending desires of decades are what we need. We should start with housing. Government spending by itself will not solve the problem. We can’t spend our way out of it. We need to devote our efforts to stemming foreclosures, invigorating the housing market and getting our financial institutions and individual investors to step back into the market without fear. We can do all of this without a $1,200,000,000,000.00 price tag,” said Enzi.

 

“In Wyoming we are responsible with our money. We balance our budgets. We tighten our belts when costs need to be cut. In Wyoming we don’t spend money we don’t have. Washington needs to take a lesson from Wyoming. It is absolutely critical that we carefully monitor these programs to make sure taxpayers are getting value for their money. Any measure of this size and scope is primed for waste, fraud and abuse. It is critical that we work to ensure proper oversight and accountability of these tax dollars,” said Barrasso.

 

The full text of 3 floor statements as well as video and audio from Enzi about the spending package are available at enzi.senate.gov. News releases about this bill from Senator Barrasso are available at barrasso.senate.gov.

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Guest Senator Evan Bayh

There is an urgent need to get our economy moving. Our country lost nearly 600,000 jobs last month. Indiana has been particularly hard hit with job losses and too many businesses closing their doors.

 

I’m pleased that working together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we were able to dramatically improve this legislation by cutting more than $100 billion not directly related to getting Hoosiers back to work. While this legislation is not perfect, it does make job creation and tax relief for the middle class top priorities. Estimates project that as many as 79,000 jobs will be created or saved by this economic recovery plan.

 

President Obama saw first hand the terrible impact that job losses and the stalled economy are having on Hoosier families. I look forward to working with his administration to get Hoosiers back to work and get Indiana’s economy growing again.

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Guest Sari Mann

Today Senator John Ensign voted against the trillion dollar spending bill but discussed a better way to provide stimulus to our hurting economy. Included below is a statement from Senator John Ensign, Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.

 

Our economy is struggling, and few states have felt this downturn more than Nevada. The American people deserve a stimulus package that will fix the housing crisis and create jobs. The so-called stimulus bill that was passed in the Senate today will result in higher taxes and a tremendous amount of debt with little to show toward the broader goal of helping our economy. This trillion dollar bill does not adequately address the housing crisis, which means we’re not treating the disease that took down our economy. Government has a role to play, but Americans deserve a better effort than this bill. Their hard-earned taxpayer dollars should be spent on legislation that gives them a helping hand during these hard times, not more wasteful Washington spending.

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Guest Office of Senator Russ Feingold

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold released the following statement today following his vote in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is expected to create up to 2.4 million jobs in the first year and about nine million jobs in the first three years:

 

"I am deeply concerned by the deficit spending included in this bill and that was one of the reasons why I opposed the flawed Wall Street bailout. But with unemployment continuing to rise, including the highest levels we’ve seen for Wisconsin in twenty years, we need to act quickly and responsibly to create jobs and get our economy moving. The economic recovery package is not perfect but it does take important steps to create or save millions of jobs while addressing our country’s energy and infrastructure challenges. But given the hefty price tag, Congress must conduct careful oversight to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes the following to help create jobs and boost our economy:

 

* A Feingold-authored provision to support green jobs. An amendment to the economic recovery package included language based on Feingold’s Community Revitalization Energy Conservation Act, part of his E4 initiative to fuel job creation in Wisconsin, to expand the types of projects eligible for a bond program that helps homes and businesses go green. Wisconsin programs similar to Milwaukee’s proposed Me2 program, which creates jobs installing energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses, would be eligible for the Qualified Energy Conservation Bond program. Feingold also successfully pushed for a 300 percent increase in the program's bond limit, bringing it to $3.2 billion. The bill also provides $4.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program, which states and local governments can use to support similar energy efficiency efforts.

 

* $537 million in highway funding to repair and improve Wisconsin’s roads and bridges.

 

* $99.8 million to improve Wisconsin’s transit infrastructure along with competitively awarded funds of $2.25 billion for passenger rail and $5.5 billion for national infrastructure projects that Wisconsin can compete for to fund projects such as a Milwaukee-Madison or other high speed rail corridors to connect Midwestern cities.

 

* $107.6 million for Wisconsin’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $38 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to create jobs improving Wisconsin’s wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.

 

* $17.7 million for Wisconsin law enforcement through the Byrne Grant program to preserve critical crime-fighting programs and positions and protect communities from the damaging impact of the economic downturn

 

* $161 million in funding for the supplemental nutrition assistance program, formerly known as food stamps, which experts agree is one of the fastest ways to infuse money into the economy.

 

* $26.1 million for the Public Housing Capital Fund which will allow public housing authorities to modernize public housing facilities throughout Wisconsin, including making them more energy efficient.

 

* A “Buy America” provision, long championed by Senator Feingold, requiring all public building and public works projects funded by the stimulus to use American iron and steel and other American-made goods in every possible instance to support American workers.

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Guest Office of Senator Mitch McConnel

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor:

 

“Over the past several months, a series of frightening economic events have left many Americans without work and many more wondering when the bad news will end. A problem that began in the housing sector spread to the financial sector, triggering even more problems in industries that rely on credit. Major U.S. companies that many Americans never thought were vulnerable have laid off thousands of workers, some for the first time ever. Last month alone, 600,000 Americans lost jobs.

 

“This was the situation when President Obama took office late last month. And, to his credit, our new President has committed himself to working with Congress to fix the economy, a top priority for both parties. A month before Inauguration Day, the President told us that bold legislative action would be needed. He also said repeatedly that he’d be careful in spending the taxpayers’ money.

 

“The American people were ready to support an economic plan that would work and that wouldn’t spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need. So were Republicans in Congress.

 

“What many of us did not expect, however, was that President Obama wouldn’t be the author of that plan. In an odd turn of events, the bold economic plan that President Obama called for ended up being written by some of the longest-serving Democrats in the House of Representatives — and it showed. Tasked with writing a stimulus bill that was timely, targeted, and temporary, Democrats in the House produced an enormous spending bill that was none of the above.

 

“Criticism of the House bill was fierce, so many of us expected that Democrats in the Senate would draft a much better bill. Unfortunately, those hopes turned out to be unfounded. Not only was the Senate bill more expensive than the House bill, it repeated the same mistakes: hundreds of billions in permanent government expansion, wasteful projects that would have minimal or no impact on job creation, and a staggering $1.2 trillion price tag when interest costs are added.

 

“As the Senate version was taking shape, a number of Senators expressed serious concerns. One senator said he was, ‘very committed to making sure that we get it scrubbed clean of many of these programs.’ Another said that, ‘If there’s wasteful of silly spending, or spending that does not, you know, create, jobs, that sort of stuff needs to be pruned out.’ Another senator said, ‘We are seeking not to let this thing get loaded up with all these other pet projects and pet programs.’ Another said, ‘…it needs some work. It needs some surgery.’ And those were just the Democrats.

 

“Concerns were so widespread that President Obama called a meeting at the White House with Congressional leaders. After the meeting, many of us thought Senate Democrats would rethink their plan. They didn’t. They dug in deeper. Republicans tried repeatedly to cut out the waste and bring down the total cost of the bill, and to refocus on the central problem of the housing market. Democrats resisted. They rejected an amendment that would have cut more than $25 billion in wasteful spending from the bill. They rejected an amendment that would have turned off spending on newly created programs — rather than let them live in perpetuity. They rejected an amendment that would have turned off spending once the economy recovers.

 

“In the end, Senate Democrats produced a bill that fell so far short that a compromise emerged. But the compromise itself wasn’t much better than the original House or Senate bills. Much of the spending was either permanent or unfocused. And many of the wasteful or non-stimulative projects that raised concerns in the earlier versions remained: hundreds of millions for government cars and government golf carts; $200 million to consolidate the Department of Homeland Security offices in Washington; $100 million for grants to small shipyards; nearly $1 billion to spruce up parks.

 

“In every version of the stimulus we’ve seen, wasteful spending has attracted the most attention. But even more worrisome to many is the permanent expansion of government programs. One estimate puts the cost of this expansion at nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.

 

“Even the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which counts Obama economic advisor Paul Volcker and former Clinton Budget Director Alice Rivlin as directors, has been highly critical of this aspect of the bill. Last week, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas pointed out that many of the bill’s spending projects squander resources. But even more troubling, she said, are the programs that aim to permanently expand government. As MacGuineas put it, ‘extending our borrowing beyond the economic downturn will make our already-dismal fiscal picture far, far worse.’

 

“Still, some Democrats continue to defend the bill. Asked about its apparent lack of focus, one veteran Democratic Congressman said, ‘So what.’ One Senate Democrat called $16.4 billion in the bill ‘a trifle.’ Another Democrat senator said that by inserting a $3 billion project of his own, he was just ‘fiddling at the edges.’ Another said that $50 billion was ‘not going to make the difference to the economy.’ Most people cringe at a 50 cent increase in the cost of bread. Senate Democrats shrug at taking $16 billion from the taxpayers for a project they can’t even assure us will work. In an economic downturn, we should care more about how we spend their tax dollars — not less.

 

“America is in the midst of a serious economic crisis. At some point, however, we will all have to face an even larger crisis: We have a $1.2 trillion deficit. The national debt is approaching $11 trillion. Soon we’ll be voting on an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will cost another $400 billion. This week, Secretary Geithner is expected to propose another round of bank bailouts that could cost up to $2 trillion. Including interest, the bill before us will cost $1.2 trillion.

 

“Americans are asking themselves ‘Where does it end?’ They want to know how we’re going to pay for all this. They’re worried. And they should be worried about a bill so big that it’s equivalent to spending more than $1 million dollars a day for more than three thousand years. This is an enormous amount of money.

 

“The President was right to call for a stimulus, but this bill misses the mark. It’s full of waste. We have no assurance it will create jobs or revive the economy. The only thing we know for sure is that it increases our debt and locks in bigger and bigger interest payments every year. In short, we’re taking an enormous risk with other people’s money. On behalf of taxpayers, I won’t take that risk.

 

“The Administration is clearly worried about the risks of spending this much money. Over the weekend, the Treasury Secretary decided to postpone an announcement on the use of the remaining TARP money and an entity that would absorb toxic assets from troubled banks.

 

“Yesterday, the Democrat Majority in the House postponed a leftover appropriations bill from last year that would bring 2009 spending to more than $1 trillion for the first time ever. It may seem overwhelming to do all of this at the same time. But, in my view, we need to lay all of this spending on the table at once, rather than trickle it out in an effort to hide the true costs.

 

“We need to be straight with the American people.

 

“Last year, the national debt was about $10 trillion. The interest payments on that debt totaled about $450 billion. At the same rate of interest, the debt we’re about to take on from this stimulus, the bad bank legislation, and the appropriations bill could cost an additional $250 billion per year.

 

“That’s about $700 billion next year in interest payments on the debt alone — more than we spent last year on defense, military construction, Veterans hospitals, and Homeland Security combined — $700 billion with nothing to show for it, $700 billion just to keep the creditors from knocking on our door. The interest costs on the Stimulus Bill alone will cost us $95 million a day, every day, for the next 10 years. Most people know what it’s like to charge a little more on the credit card than you should. They should know that their government is about to charge a lot more on the nation’s credit than it can afford — and that it’s counting on the taxpayers to cover the cost.

 

“This is serious money, all of it borrowed, and all of it spent on the hope that it will help lift the economy.

 

“All of us want to strengthen the economy and create and save jobs. Republicans believe the best way to do it is to first fix the problem, which is housing. Then we need to let people keep more of what they earn. Throughout this process, Republicans have been guided by the belief that the desire to ‘just do something’ shouldn’t be an excuse to waste tax dollars. That’s why we proposed a plan that was more focused on the problem and which didn’t waste money — in short, a plan that was timely, targeted, and temporary. Sadly the bill before us is none of these things, despite the good intent of the President. I will vote against it, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

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Guest Office of Sen. Jeff Merkley

The United States Senate today passed legislation proposed by President Obama to arrest the current economic freefall, create jobs and pave the way for future growth. Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley joined sixty of his colleagues in supporting the package.

 

“In Oregon, we’ve seen a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate every month for the last three months. We need to get to work creating jobs now,” said Merkley. “We are acting decisively to revitalize America’s economy.”

 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invests billions in upgrading our nation’s transportation infrastructure, promoting the development and production of green energy, and repairing public buildings to immediately create or save jobs. The legislation will also cut taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families, including tax credits of $500 per worker or $1000 per family.

 

A third component of the bill provides vital funding for states to prevent state layoffs and ensure the continuation of important health, education and housing services. While this portion had been reduced under a compromise negotiated last week, Senator Merkley yesterday wrote to the chairs of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees urging them to restore much of the funding for states and school construction during negotiations with the House in order to help states stave off catastrophic service cuts or tax hikes.

 

“We can and should make improvements so that it is even more effective and provides more help to states to preserve jobs and services, and I’ll be working with leaders in the Senate to make that happen,” said Merkley. In his letter, Merkley also pushed to increase funding in the final bill for green energy initiatives.

 

“This bill will create jobs in the short term, and help transform our economy so we’re competitive in the long term,” said Merkley. “The Senate faced a choice this week to chart a new path to help our economy get up off the mat or to continue the same failed policies of the last eight years that created this crisis. We have chosen to put working America first.”

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Guest Senator Barbara A. Mikulski Pres

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) issued the following statement after the Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a bill that will create millions of jobs for American workers and get the nation’s economy back on track:

 

“We have inherited a terrible mess. But the Senate has taken a major step forward to turn the country around by passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. By standing with President Obama, we stand up for America to create jobs for people who have lost them and to help those who have jobs, keep them. This is about jobs, jobs, jobs.

 

“Through the rough and tumble of the legislative process, the Senate found a sensible center. This bill balances spending on the public investments and targeted tax credits that create jobs without exacerbating the federal deficit.

 

“I’m so heartened that my automobile amendment is included in this bill. It makes interest payments on car loans and state sales or excise car tax deductible for new cars purchased between November 12, 2008 and December 31, 2009. It helps consumers. It helps save jobs in the automobile industry: from the salesman who sells the car, to the manufacturers who make it, to the mechanic who fixes it, and office managers who process the paperwork.

 

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act creates jobs by investing in our infrastructure. It fixes aging physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, and water systems. It makes major investments in education so that families and local school districts can help special needs children. It invests in the techno infrastructure like broadband to expand small businesses. It provides a social safety net through unemployment insurance and Medicaid that help distressed families. And it has targeted tax breaks to help families and small businesses.

 

“This bill is a victory for America. This bill stimulates the economy today and lays the groundwork for a stronger economy tomorrow.”

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Guest Office of Senator Patty Murray

Today, U. S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) helped to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a bill aimed at taking bold action to put Americans back to work and get the nation’s economy back on track. As a member of the U.S. Senate leadership, Senator Murray worked to include a number of Washington state priorities in the bill that will provide a unique boost to Washington’s economy and create family-wage jobs throughout the state. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 61-37.

 

“Our state is hurting,” said Senator Murray. “It’s hard to find anyone in our state who doesn’t have a friend, a neighbor, or a family member who hasn’t recently lost a job or isn’t struggling just to get by. Last week, we saw job fair lines that stretched around Qwest Field even as companies continued to announce layoffs throughout our state. Each day more jobs are being cut, small businesses are closing their doors, homes are being lost and families are making new sacrifices just to make ends meet.

 

“Washingtonians are calling out for bold and immediate action. Today we answered.

 

“The bill we passed today is not perfect and it’s not the only step needed to fix a badly broken economy. However, it does invest in proven ways to get workers back on the job and our economy back on track. This bill will help fix our crumbling roads, rebuild our aging energy grid, and give working families more of their paycheck. It will also make long-term investments that will help our state and country compete in a global economy.

 

“Our economy won’t turn around overnight and there are still hard times ahead. But we also need to remember how hard it is for the millions of Americans who, through no fault of their own, are waking up each morning without a job. This bill is about getting them back to work and returning security and confidence to the American people.

 

“As we move forward, I urge my colleagues to continue to work together, to put aside their differences and stay focused on sending President Obama a bill that creates jobs and gets commerce going again. Delay and inaction are not options the American people can afford right now.”

 

Below are some of the critical investment in Washington state Senator Murray worked to make in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

 

TAX CUTS: Includes income tax cut of up to $1,000 for Washington workers and their families.

 

HIGHWAYS: Includes more than $495 million to improve Washington state roads, highways, and bridges and create jobs. Also includes $5.5 billion for nationwide competitive grant program for projects of major national or regional importance.

 

TRANSIT: Includes over $200 million in new transit funding for Washington state to keep residents moving and create jobs.

 

FERRIES: The bill includes a $60 million nationwide grant program to fund ferry and ferry terminal upgrades.

 

STATE SUPPORT (State Stabilization Fund): Will provide Washington with $648 million to help with education and other services in the face of deep budget deficits. The state can use this funding for a number of different purposes including funding higher education tuition assistance and a variety of K-12 services.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Will give another $100 per month in unemployment insurance benefits to 404,000 workers in Washington, Will provide extended unemployment benefits to an additional 44,000 laid-off workers.

 

WORKER TRAINING: Includes over $64 million to train unemployed Washington state workers and get them the skills needed to embark on new careers.

 

HANFORD: Includes $6.4 billion for Environmental Management (EM) nationwide. Historically, Hanford Nuclear Reservation receives a significant portion of EM funding. This funding would help save or create jobs at Hanford, would accelerate cleanup efforts, and would save taxpayers millions in future cleanup costs.

 

BPA: Includes $3.25 billion in additional borrowing authority so that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) can modernize the region’s power grid and bring alternative energy sources online. BPA is the largest marketer of wholesale electricity in the Pacific Northwest. This funding will mean that BPA can improve their aging transmission lines so that new sources of energy can be made available to customers and new green jobs can be created throughout the state.

 

WEATHERIZATION: Includes over $36 million to help weatherize homes and businesses throughout our state, creating jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and lowering energy bills.

 

MEDICAID: The bill includes $2.02 billion for Washington state to ease the burden of rising Medicaid costs.

 

FOODSTAMPS: This bill will provide an additional $246 million for struggling Washington state families to afford food. This is an immediate stimulus for our economy and moral obligation in these difficult times.

 

LAW ENFORCEMENT: This bill will provide Washington state with over $22 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to support state and local law enforcement crime-fighting efforts. Will also include $1 billion nationwide for COPS grants that will help us avoid laying off police officers in our state.

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Guest Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Economic recovery legislation passed by the U.S. Senate today will create thousands of Rhode Island jobs, cut taxes for working families, and make critical investments in our state's future, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said today. Whitehouse worked to include provisions to boost Social Security payments to seniors and disabled Americans and invest in health information technology.

 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will create or save 13,000 Rhode Island jobs over the next two years; provide a refundable tax credit up to $1,000 for 470,000 Rhode Island workers and their families; make 14,000 Rhode Island families eligible for a new, $2,500, partially refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit to make college affordable; and offer an additional $100 per month in unemployment insurance benefits to 86,000 workers in Rhode Island who have lost their jobs in this recession. Rhode Island would also receive approximately $132 million for road and bridge repair; $46 million to improve drinking water and sewer systems; $12 million for Weatherization Assistance; and $7 million for police departments.

 

"This is a positive step forward for America," said Whitehouse. "It will give President Obama and our local governments the tools they need to put people back to work, jump-start our faltering economy, and support our struggling families. Obviously, there's much more that will need to be done in the weeks and months ahead, but this is an important first step in our efforts to get our country back on track."

 

Last month, Whitehouse asked Senate leaders to consider a temporary increase in Social Security benefits as part of the recovery legislation. Whitehouse emphasized that fixed incomes and reliance on costly prescription drugs make older and disabled Americans particularly vulnerable to economic downturns. He also noted that Social Security recipients, who often live on fixed incomes, are more likely to spend such funds rather than save them, helping further stimulate the economy.

 

The Senate bill, as passed today, includes a provision along these lines to provide a one time increase of $300 to all Social Security and SSDI recipients. That would mean over $40 million for Rhode Island alone, where more than 138,000 seniors received Social Security benefits in 2007, the most recent information available. Social Security benefits in 2007 averaged just $12,956 per recipient per year.

 

Whitehouse also spearheaded an effort to create central and regional resource centers to provide information and assistance to doctors who implement health information technology systems. In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Whitehouse stressed that "this bill doesn't just hand out grants to buy big, fancy new boxes of equipment to sit in office closets. This bill includes implementation assistance so that doctors have a little help opening that box, installing that technology, and putting it to work on behalf of their patients."

 

The economic recovery bill also includes $18 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentives for doctors who use health IT in their practices to improve the quality of care for their patients, as well as $3 billion for grants, loan programs, and other provisions to enhance our health IT infrastructure.

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Guest LAW_*

Read what Bloomberg is saying:

 

While providing more generous tax breaks than the House version, the Senate agreement pared $40 billion targeted at helping state and city governments avoid layoffs, $19.5 billion for school construction, $7 billion for health care and about $1 billion for early education programs.

 

Excising or reducing funds to those programs significantly blunts the stimulative effects of the Senate package, economists say.

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Guest Fed Up

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - Designates: (1) each amount in this Act as an emergency requirement, necessary to meet certain emergency needs in accordance with the FY2008-FY2009 congressional budget resolutions; and (2) as an emergency for Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) principles.

 

Establishes use-it-or-lose-it requirements for grantees using funds in specified accounts who have not entered into contracts or other binding commitments and used 50% of the funds awarded. Provides for redistribution of such uncommitted funds by the appropriate federal agency.

 

Makes all funds appropriated by this Act available for obligation through FY2010, unless expressly provided otherwise.

 

Makes additional appropriations to specified federal agency and departmental Offices of Inspector General.

 

Appropriates additional amounts to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

 

Prohibits the use of funds for: (1) casino or other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; or (2) a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron and steel used in the project is domestic, except in certain circumstances.

 

Requires publication on the website Recovery.gov of: (1) all federal agency plans for using funds made available in this Act, as well as all related grant announcements; and (2) all federal, state, or local agency public notices regarding funds obligated to particular infrastructure investments.

 

Prescribes review and reporting requirements for inspectors general of federal departments or executive agencies, the GAO, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

 

Establishes the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board, which shall establish the Recovery.gov website.

 

Places limitations on the length of certain noncompetitive contracts.

 

Grants the Comptroller General and the Offices of Inspector General access to certain contractors' or subcontractors' records or employees.

 

Prohibits reprisals against state and local government and contractor whistleblowers.

 

Makes supplemental appropriations for FY2009 to: (1) the Department of Agriculture; (2) the Department of Commerce; (3) the Department of Justice (DOJ); (4) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); (5) the National Science Foundation; (6) the Department of Defense (DOD); (7) the Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers - Civil; (8) the Department of the Interior; and (9) the Department of Energy.

 

Makes additional appropriations for FY2009 to the Secretary of Agriculture to provide a temporary increase in benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

 

Amends the Hoover Power Plant Act of 1984 to authorize the Western Area Power Administration to borrow funds from the Treasury for: (1) new or upgraded electric power transmission lines and related facilities; and (2) the delivery of power generated by renewable energy resources after enactment of this Act.

 

Makes additional borrowing authority available to the Bonneville Power Administration.

 

Appropriates funds for: (1) the General Services Administration (GSA) for the Federal Buildings Fund and the acquisition of energy-efficient motor vehicles; and (2) the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small business loan programs.

 

Permits the SBA to guarantee up to 95% of qualifying small business loans made by eligible lenders. Authorizes the SBA to establish: (1) the SBA Secondary Market Lending Authority; and (2) the SBA Secondary Market Guarantee Authority. Authorizes the SBA to refinance: (1) SBA and non-SBA loans made to small businesses; and (2) loans made under the SBA's local development business loan program. Provides increased SBA loan leverage and investment limits.

 

Makes supplemental appropriations for FY2009 to: (1) the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); (2) the Department of the Interior; (3) the Environmental Protection Agency; (4) the Department of Agriculture; (5) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); (6) the Smithsonian Institution; (7) the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities; (8) the National Endowment for the Arts; (9) the Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration; and (10) the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to extend employment eligibility confirmation pilot programs (including the E-Verify basic pilot program).

 

Directs the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of Homeland Security to enter into a fiscal year agreement to provide funds to the Commissioner for the full costs of such programs in quarterly advances.

 

Requires that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct studies regarding: (1) erroneous tentative nonconfirmations under the E-Verify program; and (2) the effects of such program on small entities.

 

Amends the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to revise the exclusion from the meaning of "employee in the recreational marine industry" of any individuals employed to repair a recreational vessel or to dismantle any part of it in connection with its repair.

 

Establishes a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.

 

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to invest in the infrastructure necessary to allow for and promote the electronic exchange and use of health information for each individual in the United States, consistent with the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

 

Makes supplemental appropriations available to the Department of Education for: (1) education of the disadvantaged; (2) impact aid; (3) school improvement programs; (4) innovation and improvement activities; (5) special education; (6) rehabilitation services and disability research; (7) certain student financial assistance programs, as well as federal administrative expenses for such programs; (8) teacher quality partnership grants; (9) the Institute of Education Sciences; and (10) school modernization, renovation, and repair.

 

Sets the maximum individual Pell Grant amount at $4,860 for award year 2009-2010.

 

Establishes grant programs for the modernization, renovation, and repair of: (1) public elementary and secondary school facilities; and (2) higher education facilities that are primarily used for instruction, research, or student housing.

 

Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase the amount authorized and appropriated for Pell Grants for FY2009-FY2010.

 

Increases annual and aggregate student loan limits under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

 

Alters, on a temporary basis, the formula for calculating special allowance payments made to FFEL lenders to compensate them for the difference between FFEL interest rates and market rates.

 

Makes supplemental appropriations for FY2009 to: (1) the Corporation for National and Community Service; (2) the National Service Trust; (3) the Social Security Administration (SSA); (4) the DOD; (5) the Department of Veterans Affairs; (6) the Department of State; (7) the Department of Transportation; and (8) the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

 

Sets forth maintenance of effort and reporting requirements for a state or its agency awarded funds appropriated in this Act for a covered program.

 

Establishes loan limits for calendar 2009 for: (1) the Federal Housing Administration (FHA); (2) the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae); (3) the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac); and (4) the FHA reverse mortgage.

 

Establishes a State Stabilization Fund which the Secretary of Education is to use to provide grants to states: (1) to restore state funding for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education; (2) to supplement school improvement funds provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; and (3) for public safety and other government services.

 

Reserves a portion of such Fund for: (1) awarding grants to states that make significant progress in addressing inequities in teacher distribution, establishing longitudinal education data systems, and improving educational assessments; and (2) establishing an Innovation Fund to award states, Leas, and schools that make significant progress in closing student achievement gaps.

 

American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) allow through 2010 a refundable tax credit for the lesser of 6.2% of earned income or $500 ($1,000 for married couples filing jointly); (2) allow through 2010 increases in the earned income tax credit, the refundable portion of the child tax credit, and the Hope Scholarship tax credit; (3) allow a waiver of the the first-time home buyer tax credit repayment requirement for residences purchased after December 31, 2008, and before July 1, 2009; (4) extend through 2009 bonus depreciation and the increased expensing allowance for depreciable business assets; (5) extend from two to five years the carryback period for net operating losses; and (6) allow a work opportunity tax credit for certain unemployed veterans and disconnected youth hired in 2009 or 2010.

 

Limits the applicability of Treasury Notice 2008-83 (suspending restrictions on the offset of net operating losses and unrealized built-in losses against the taxable income of certain corporate entities that acquire or merge with other entities) to periods prior to January 16, 2009.

 

Suspends in 2009 or 2010 certain limitations on the tax deduction allowed to financial institutions for interest expense related to investments in tax-exempt bonds. Exempts interest earned on tax-exempt private activity bonds from the alternative minimum tax.

 

Allows a new tax credit for investment in bonds for the construction, rehabilitation, or repair of public school facilities or for the acquisition of land for building a public school facility.

 

Increases in 2009 and 2010 the issuance limitation for qualified zone academy bonds.

 

Allows state or local governments to elect to receive direct federal payments equal to tax credit amounts for investment in tax-exempt bonds issued in 2009 and 2010.

 

Allows a new tax credit for investment in recovery zone economic development and recovery zone facility bonds issued in 2009 and 2010.

 

Repeals the 3% withholding requirement on payments by federal, state, or local governmental entities to individuals who provide property or services to such entities.

 

Extends the tax credit for the production of electricity from wind facilities (through 2012) and from other renewable facilities (through 2013). Allows an election to claim an investment tax credit for renewable facilities placed in service in 2009 or 2010.

 

Repeals limitations on the investment tax credit for energy property financed by subsidized energy financing or industrial development bonds.

 

Increases the limitation amount on the issuance of new clean renewable energy bonds and qualified energy conservation bonds.

 

Modifies and extends through 2010 the tax credit for improvements to energy-efficient residences.

 

Increases through 2010 the tax credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property expenditures.

 

Increases through 2010 the tax credit for qualified energy research expenses.

 

Requires the application of certain federal labor standards to projects financed with clean renewable energy and conservation bonds, zone academy bonds, school construction bonds, and recovery zone economic development bonds.

 

Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to make grants in 2009 to states for low-income housing projects in lieu of low-income housing credit allocations.

 

Directs the Secretary of Energy to make grants in 2009 or 2010 in lieu of tax credits to investors in specified energy property (e.g., renewable energy property, fuel cell property, solar property, wind energy property, geothermal property, microturbine property, combined health and power system property, and geothermal heatpump property).

 

Directs the Comptroller General to submit a report to the House Committee on Ways and Means on the economic, employment, and other effects of this Act.

 

Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families Act - Amends the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.

 

Provides for federal-state agreements for increased regular unemployment compensation payments to individuals.

 

Requires federal payments to states to cover 100% of such additional payments.

 

Amends Social Security Act (SSA) to direct the Secretary of Labor to make special transfers to state accounts in the Unemployment Trust Fund for unemployment compensation modernization incentive payments and for administration.

Health Insurance Assistance for the Unemployed Act of 2009 - Provides for payment of a portion of an individual's premiums for any COBRA continuation coverage (health insurance continuation benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act).

 

Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code, and the Public Health Service Act to allow COBRA coverage to continue past required termination dates for an employee who has attained age 55 or has completed ten or more years of service.

 

Amends SSA title XIX (Medicaid) to allow states to provide coverage to individuals who are receiving unemployment compensation benefits or who have exhausted such benefits.

 

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act or the HITECH Act - Amends the Public Health Service Act to establish the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

 

Sets forth provisions governing the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information.

 

Amends SSA title XVIII (Medicare) to establish incentive payments for certain eligible physicians and hospitals that adopt and use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology meaningfully, beginning in FY2011.

 

Amends SSA title XIX (Medicaid) to establish incentive payments to encourage the adoption and use by Medicaid providers of qualified electronic health records.

 

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program to enhance the meaningful use of certified electronic health records in nursing facilities.

 

Sets forth provisions governing the privacy and security of health information, including requiring notifications for any breach of protected health information.

 

Prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from phasing out or eliminating the budget neutrality adjustment factor in the Medicare hospice wage index before October 1, 2009. Requires the Secretary to recompute and apply the final index for FY2009 as if there had been no reduction in the budget neutrality adjustment factor.

 

Provides for non-application of the phased-out indirect medical education adjustment factor for FY2009.

 

Makes technical corrections to the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 with respect to long-term care hospitals.

 

Establishes a temporary increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) with respect to Medicaid payments, as well as payments under SSA title IV part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance), for FY2009-FY2011 for eligible states, with optional FMAP increases authorized for specified U.S. territories.

 

Extends from March 31, 2009, through June 30, 2009, the current moratoria on implementation of specified Medicaid and SCHIP regulations relating to cost limits for government-operated providers, the integrity of the federal-state Medicaid financial partnership, graduate medical education (GME) payments, Medicaid provider taxes, rehabilitative services, optional state plan case management services, and school-based administration and school-based transportation services.

 

Imposes a moratorium through June 30, 2009, on implementation of a final regulation published on November 7, 2008, relating to Medicaid outpatient hospital services.

 

Extends transitional medical assistance (TMA) from June 30, 2009, through December 31, 2010.

 

Gives states the option of providing, during a presumptive eligibility period, Medicaid coverage for family planning services and supplies to individuals who are not pregnant and whose income does not exceed the highest income eligibility level for pregnant women established under the state's Medicaid or SCHIP programs.

 

Prohibits state Medicaid programs from imposing cost-sharing requirements on Indians or Alaska Natives when the beneficiary is receiving an item or service directly from an Indian health care provider or through referral from a Contract Health Services provider.

 

Amends SSA title XI to repeal establishment of the National Commission on Children. Directs the Secretary of HHS to maintain within the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services a Tribal Technical Advisory Group.

 

Prescribes a temporary increase in state allotments for payments to Medicaid disproportionate share (DSH) hospitals.

 

Requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to develop and maintain a map showing where broadband service is deployed and available in each state.

 

Provides for grants for wireless deployment and broadband deployment.

 

Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to report on a national broadband plan.

 

Makes technical corrections to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).

 

Revises requirements with respect to smart grid regional demonstration initiatives.

 

Instructs the Secretary of Energy to establish a smart grid information clearinghouse.

 

Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to direct the Secretary of Energy to make loan guarantees for rapid deployment before FY 2012 of renewable energy and electric power transmission projects.

 

Amends the Energy Conservation and Production Act to increase the income eligibility level for the Weatherization Assistance Program, as well as the maximum amount of financial assistance.

 

Instructs the Secretary to include specified analyses within the 2009 National Electric Transmission Congestion Study.

 

Sets forth conditions for additional grants under the State Energy Program.

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Guest Human_*

Don't need to read anything posted in this thread, because it's Still Tarp that the Business community is looking at.

 

Every thing else is basically political, even Barack Obama's Administration dismissing oil exploration as a viable option.

 

One of the democrat senators in virginia will be running on the theme "If you can believe it?" that NOT IN MY BACK YARD.

 

Any ways this spending bill is basically a payback for the political support he got during the campaign "It's to be expected".

 

TARP IS The one you really got to watch.

 

Folks there is a wish list "Spending Bill", and a Must to do list "Tarp". Right now the democrats are playing with the Wish List.

 

What I like about the Wish List is that he is incorporating The Undocumented community to be with in the greater American Community.

 

It's in conference now, and the general public can't do anything about it. Didn't you folks wonder why he is investing so much into Medicaid???????? <~ Didn't want to point this one out earlier, because I really didn't want the general public to put a stop to it.

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Guest ALWAYS RED_*

Democrats need reality checks.

 

A billion dollars will continue to subsidize the perennial money loser, Amtrak; $20 billion expands the already bloated food stamp program.

 

About $2 billion is diverted from the wallets of hard-working Americans to subsidize childcare. Some $2.8 billion is slipped to global warming advocacy programs.

 

$600 million will buy more and newer cars for government bureaucrats, along with $44 million to refurbish the Department of Agriculture, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, and $150 million to spruce up the Smithsonian buildings.

 

Another $650 million is earmarked for helping consumers convert analog TVs to digital (because the government earlier decided to halt analog television broadcasting). More than $400 million promotes anti-smoking programs and programs to fight sexually transmitted diseases. Those are just the tip of the fiscal iceberg.

 

How will these help the country stimulate permanent jobs?

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Guest Fed Up
Didn't you folks wonder why he is investing so much into Medicaid???????? <~ Didn't want to point this one out earlier, because I really didn't want the general public to put a stop to it.

 

Hospice Wage Index for Fiscal Year 2009, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall not phase out or eliminate the budget neutrality adjustment factor in the Medicare hospice wage index before October 1, 2009, and the Secretary shall recompute and apply the final Medicare hospice wage index for fiscal year 2009 as if there had been no reduction in the budget neutrality adjustment factor."

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Guest ALWAYS RED_*

you might as well spend your money now because it'll be worthless tomorrow. As inflation creeps to 6%...10%...12%...you'll be losing money every day.

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Guest EG

The entire thing is Pork. Giving taxpayer money to the government to Re-distribute in the form of government infrastructure projects is not a "LONG-TERM" solution to create jobs. We need to create PRIVATE SECTOR jobs. We can't all work for the government. Without the private sector you have no government. Get the picture??? We are going to go 1.7 trillion in debt only to find ourselves right back where we started in 2 years. We are not playing with Monopoly money and in the long term we are going to have to pay that money back. We will get a 0% return on that investment. If I am going to go into debt, I want a positive return.

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You do not think investment in transportation infrastructure makes a great deal of sense? Most of it was built in the 1950's and now is in decay. Across the nation, over seventy thousand bridges (or 12 percent of all bridges) have been designated as structurally deficient. Remember the Mississippi River Bridge collapse? Imagine the same thing happening where we live. Did you know in the State of Maryland 129 bridges are classified as structurally deficient. A well functioning and modernized transportation sector will be an important part of improving America's future productivity and energy security. More importantly it preserves transportation jobs. You can't give tax cuts to the unemployed.

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Guest Christine Hansen

GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY JOINS VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TO DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

Vice President Biden, Governor O’Malley Senator Cardin, Transportation Secretary LaHood Highlight Impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Maryland’s Infrastructure Investment

 

Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Benjamin Cardin, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined others at the Laurel MARC Station to promote the importance of investment in infrastructure to create jobs in a 21st century economy. Using a $2.9 million infrastructure project as a background that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would help fund, Governor O’Malley urged Congress to act swiftly and prudently on the proposal before them to inject needed investment into Maryland’s infrastructure.

 

“This project is just one of literally hundreds of projects, small and large, all across our State that will benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” said Governor O’Malley. “The national recession’s impact on Maryland means we simply don’t have the state dollars to make these repairs. With each project like this one, we preserve jobs, improve our infrastructure and invest in the future of our communities. I want to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden and our Maryland Congressional delegation for leading the charge to invest in our future.”

 

Passage of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would make possible a $2.9 million station rehabilitation project at the Laurel Station, the busiest station on the Camden line.

 

The Laurel MARC Station handles over 700 boardings a day. The $2.9 million station rehabilitation project will replace a deteriorating wood platform and its wooden support structure with a new concrete and steel system topped with an all-weather composite decking. The project also will provide improved lighting, a new passenger shelter, upgraded ADA compliant ramps for use by the disabled community and the structural rehabilitation of the historic station building built in 1884. The project is expected to support more than 30 jobs in a variety of trades, including: carpenters, iron workers, concrete finishers, masons and electricians.

 

The Laurel project is just one example of as many as 500 transportation projects throughout Maryland that could be candidates for federal economic recovery funding. These projects, worth more than $1.1 billion, could be underway quickly preserving jobs and investing in the State’s transportation infrastructure. The exact number of projects will be determined by the criteria outlined a final bill. Provided federal economic recovery funds become available, Maryland transportation projects alone are projected to support up to 20,000 jobs.

 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is a nationwide effort to create jobs, jumpstart growth and transform our economy for the 21st century. Across the country, this plan will help businesses create jobs and families afford their bills while laying a foundation for future economic growth in key areas like health care, clean energy, education and a 21st century infrastructure. In Maryland, this plan will deliver immediate, tangible impacts, including:

• Creating or saving 70,000 jobs over the next two years. Jobs created will be in a range of industries from clean energy to health care, with over 90% in the private sector.

• Providing a “making work pay” tax cut of up to $1,000 for 2,210,000 workers and their families. The plan will make a down payment on the President’s Making Work Pay tax cut for 95% of workers and their families, designed to pay out immediately into workers’ paychecks

• Making 53,000 families eligible for a new American Opportunity Tax Credit to make college affordable. By creating a new $2,500 partially refundable tax credit for four years of college, this plan will give 3.8 million families nationwide – and 53,000 families in Maryland – new assistance to put college within their reach.

• Offering an additional $100 per month in unemployment insurance benefits to 242,000 workers in Maryland who have lost their jobs in this recession, and providing extended unemployment benefits to an additional 40,000 laid-off workers.

• Providing funding sufficient to modernize at least 138 schools in Maryland so our children have the labs, classrooms and libraries they need to compete in the 21st century economy.

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Guest Human_*

The Gas Tax was there for handling infrastructure. The questions' I would LOVE to ask is?

 

WHERE"S THE MONEY, WHERE DID IT ALL GO?

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You do not think investment in transportation infrastructure makes a great deal of sense? Most of it was built in the 1950's and now is in decay. Across the nation, over seventy thousand bridges (or 12 percent of all bridges) have been designated as structurally deficient. Remember the Mississippi River Bridge collapse? Imagine the same thing happening where we live. Did you know in the State of Maryland 129 bridges are classified as structurally deficient. A well functioning and modernized transportation sector will be an important part of improving America's future productivity and energy security. More importantly it preserves transportation jobs. You can't give tax cuts to the unemployed.

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Guest EG

Ronald Reagan came into power under a similar economic time period. We had high interest rates ( those will be coming very soon to our situation) and high unemployment. Stagflation. Our economy was in shambles because of Jimmy Carters Socialist policies.

 

The same policies that President Obama and Pelosi, Reid are employing today. His four pillars of economics created one of the best economic turnarounds this country has experienced. You should re-familiarize yourself with his work. You might actually learn what makes an economy run. In true economy, a businesses primary customer is not the government but the people!

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"The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect." - Bill Clinton

 

Economists credit former Fed Chairman, Paul Volcker, in ending the United States' economic crisis of the 1970s. President Reagan's economic policy had the U.S. government borrowing and spending exploded. I give him credit on outspending the Soviet Union on defense that caused their economy collapse trying to keep up. But, our national debt climbed from $1 trillion to $3 trillion by the time he left office. Today, financial trillions of dollars worth of transactions take place in markets beyond effective government oversight and supervision. In order for President Obama to be successful he needs to restore confidence in our government and our markets with the American public. Even Republican Senators: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter stated publicly that they support the bill. We will lose $2 trillion worth of worker output over the next two years if we do nothing.

Edited by Luke_Wilbur

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Just to be clear this problem stems from the corruption of both sides of the aisle. My friend sent me this video. I am going to have to research it more.

 

 

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Guest Gary

Achieving the full yield of this initial investment will take more than this bill. It will take time and it will require a rethinking of public policy regarding the economy and education. The notion of stimulus leads us to talk and think as if the economy just needs a jolt or a jump start, as if it is a heart patient in need of a defibrillator or a car with a dead battery in need of a jump. Our system needs more than momentary shock; it needs an overhaul, and it needs sustained, systematic investment in capacity building.

 

We have redefined Wall Street as a public good, investing billions of public dollars in private corporations. With that redefinition should come a renewed emphasis on the societal responsibilities of these companies. Can we not also redefine our higher educational system as a public good with a public mission that merits investment? For thirty years we have cast higher education as a consumer driven marketplace, channeling federal higher education monies to students, to developing future human capital. At the same time we have largely disinvested in institutions and their intellectual capital, the faculty. It is not only the facilities that are aging, it is the faculty; it is not just the physical infrastructures of our colleges and universities that need enhancement, it is also the demographic structure of the academic workforce. Our public policies encourage colleges and universities to behave as individual enterprises seeking to generate revenues, and they have acted accordingly, chasing students who are able to pay higher tuition. We have shifted increasing costs to students and their families to the point that affordability, access, social stratification, and accountability are significant problems. And we have shifted institutional emphasis and expenditure away from instruction and faculty. If the road to recovery is through social innovation and science and a more inclusive, green economy, then we need to invest in expanding the capacity of our intellectual capital.

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