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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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LAW    0

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act targets investments towards key areas that will save or create good jobs immediately, while also laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth. The charts and numbers below give you an idea of where the money is going.

 

Over the upcoming months, we will provide more information on the distribution of funding by Federal agencies. In order to give small businesses and Americans across the country a chance to apply for recovery dollars to create and save jobs, some funding may not be distributed until this summer. New information on the allocation of funds will be posted on Recovery.gov as it becomes available.

 

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Guest CBO   
Guest CBO

CBO estimates that enacting the conference agreement for H.R. 1 would increase federal budget deficits by $185 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $399 billion in 2010, by $134 billion in 2011, and by $787 billion over the 2009-2019 period (combining both spending and revenue effects).

 

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9989/hr1conference.pdf

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Guest ALWAYS RED_*   
Guest ALWAYS RED_*

You know BIG trouble is brewing when top federal Comptroller General (David Walker) recently quit in frustration because as our government's top accountant had warned in vain -- the nation's finances are going over a cliff and no one is acting to stop it...

 

...or a recent finding by the Congressional Budget Office that the federal insolvency crisis is so deep every U.S. household would have to cough up half-a-million dollars each just to save the federal government from bankruptcy! (And the financial debt leverage of U.S. consumers themselves is even more scary.)

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Guest Dan   
Guest Dan

As the fight over the economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act demonstrates, Republicans would rather play partisan politics than work with President Obama to get America's economy moving again. We simply cannot afford to continue down the disastrous path George Bush and his GOP allies have charted over the past eight years.

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Luke_Wilbur    5

In this time of budget constraints how is it possible that the Postmaster General is receiving $867,459 annually in compensation, as reported by the Postal Regulatory Commission. His salary jumped nearly 39 percent from 2006.

 

We are taking bold steps to cut costs immediately. At the same time, we are examining, realigning and streamlining our business to address longer-term financial pressures while continuing to provide high levels of service to the America public - Postmaster General John Potter

 

These steps include:

 

Eliminating $5.9 billion in costs through fiscal year 2010, including the reduction of 100 million workhours this year, doubling last year’s efforts. In quarter one, almost 27 million workhours were reduced compared to the same period last year. Other cost-containment efforts include freezing the salaries of all Postal Service officers and executives at 2008 pay levels, reducing travel budgets, and halting all construction of new postal facilities.

Requesting Congress to provide legislative assistance by adjusting a portion of the payment requirements of more than $7 billion a year for retiree health benefits (no tax subsidy is requested) and by providing the Board with the authority to adjust the number of delivery days, if necessary, based on mail volume.

Working with the National Association of Letter Carriers to implement a new process to evaluate and adjust delivery routes to help achieve workhour reduction targets.

Maximizing operational efficiency by pursuing efforts to consolidate some excess capacity in mail processing and transportation networks while protecting service.

Reducing employee complement through attrition and voluntary early retirement. The number of career employees at the end of the first quarter was down by 24,240 compared to the same time a year ago.

Introducing new products and offering price and volume incentives to consumers and businesses. Last year’s creation of a new Mailing and Shipping Service division is also helping to bring new products to market more quickly and effectively.

“The Postal Service is an important public service and a vital economic engine. We are focused on identifying and implementing strategic solutions to ensure the Postal Service continues to deliver for Americans today and for future generations,” Potter assured the Board.

 

In other action, the Board voted today to give the Postal Service the authority to engage in long-term borrowing. The action will provide the Postal Service with added flexibility in its debt management.

 

Board Election

Also at today’s meeting, Carolyn Lewis Gallagher was elected chairman and Louis J. Giuliano was elected vice chairman of the Board. Gallagher previously served as vice chairman and was appointed a governor by former President George W. Bush in 2004. She is the former CEO of Texwood Furniture, Inc., and has served on numerous private and public sector boards as well as on the President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service. Giuliano, appointed to the Board in June 2006, is the former chairman, CEO and president of ITT Corp. and currently serves on the board of the John Maneely Company and is a senior advisor to The Carlyle Group.

 

How about the Executive taking a pay cut???

 

Much attention has been paid recently to the Postal Service’s announcement that it was asking Congress for authority to decrease the frequency of mail service from six days a week to five days as a means of cutting costs in the face of declining mail revenues and volumes. The frequency of mail delivery and the current legislative requirement for six day a week delivery is just one area discussed in the Commission’s recent report on Universal Postal Service and the Postal Monopoly.

 

In the Report, the Commission found that the universal service obligation (USO) in the United States has statutory underpinnings, but there is no specific USO. Rather, the Commission identified seven attributes of the USO – delivery frequency being one.

 

The Report found that reducing delivery to five days a week should produce savings for the Postal Service, yet the Commission found that this reduction could degrade the value of delivery service and result in a loss of mail volume. Based on Commission estimates, reducing delivery frequency by one day could save $1.94 billion annually. The Postal Service estimates a savings of $3.5 billion with no reduction in volume. We have recommended that the Postal Service undertake a study of the elasticity of demand of mailers so that accurate estimates of volume decline can be developed.

 

As Congress proceeds to review the Postal Service’s proposal, along with other options, access to accurate and timely information regarding the Service’s finances would assist in informing the public debate. The Commission’s Report recommended that any changes in the USO that Congress might undertake to assist the Service in confronting its financial challenges be carefully balanced against all the attributes of universal service identified by the Commission. This is why publicly available monthly financial reports - to Congress and the Commission - will help keep postal stakeholders abreast of changes in trends and allow prompt reaction to changing circumstances.

 

The Postal Service is the foundation for a $900 billion mailing industry. Given the tenuousness of the Postal Service’s financial situation, more – not less – transparency is called for. Congress and the general public should have the benefit of readily available information regarding the Postal Service’s finances in evaluating these serious public policy issues. That is why the Commission so strongly recommends that the Postal Service provide Congress and the Commission with monthly financial reports.

 

http://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/default.aspx#

 

The Postal Service is investigating whether Potter improperly received a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp.

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Guest I SEE HOPE   
Guest I SEE HOPE

More than $720 million from Obama Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will help fund America’s number one school system

Governor Martin O’Malley, joined today by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, announced more than $720 million of funding for Maryland public education resulting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. Under Governor O’Malley’s plan, every school district in Maryland will be made whole and the Geographic Cost of Education Index will be funded at 100 percent for the first time.

 

“Even in difficult economic times, we have protected Maryland children and America’s number one school system because it’s absolutely the right thing to do,” said Governor O’Malley. “Thanks to President Obama and members of Congress who voted to invest in our economic future, we are able to make these additional strategic investments in our classrooms and teachers.”

 

Despite difficult economic times, Governor O’Malley proposed a record $5.4 billion funding level in his FY2010 budget for K-12 public education. However, in order to address a budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion dollars due to the deepening national recession, some adjustments were made in the non-Thornton elements of the formula. With today’s announcement, every school district in Maryland was made whole.

 

The plan announced today includes full funding of GCEI, as well as a restoration of the proposed reductions in supplemental grant and non-public placement funding to local school systems, which will complement nearly $400 million in direct aid that local systems will receive from the federal government as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. These federal funds will also provide $329 million towards the projected growth of teacher pension cost, continuing to protect local jurisdictions from this potentially prohibitive cost.

 

Governor O’Malley also announced today that these education dollars will go towards full funding of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan, representing more than $185 million in cost increases over the next 27 months.

 

Today’s announcement confirmed that Obama Reinvestment funds will allow the Governor to scrap plans that included 700 state layoffs in next year’s budget. The restoration of those positions utilizes $62 million of the Act’s discretionary funding over the next two years.

 

Since the passage of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan, State funding for local school systems has increased by $1.97 billion dollars, a 76-percent increase. Governor O’Malley proposed a record $5.4 billion funding level for FY2010 despite difficult economic times. In addition, for the first time ever, Maryland will have invested more than $1 billion in school construction funding over a three year period, including over $260 million proposed for FY2010 alone.

 

In early January, Education Week Magazine ranked Maryland’s public schools number one in the nation. Shortly thereafter, the College Board ranked Maryland’s high schools number one in the nation for Advanced Placement participation and achievement.

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Guest I SEE HOPE   
Guest I SEE HOPE

North Carolina Receives $336 Million in Medicaid Funds from the Federal Recovery Act

 

Thursday, the State of North Carolina received an additional $336 million in federal funds for the Medicaid Program from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These funds will assist North Carolina in addressing the budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

 

Prior to the ARRA, North Carolina received about $.65 cents of federal money for each $1 spent in the Medicaid program for medical services. After ARRA, North Carolina is now eligible to receive about $.74 cents on the dollar.

 

North Carolina is eligible to receive the enhanced federal match for 27 months dating back to October 2008. The initial $336 million received covers the months of October 2008 – February 2009.

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Guest Kim Haberlin   
Guest Kim Haberlin

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES FIRST FEDERAL RECOVERY FUNDS FOR STATEWIDE ROAD AND BRIDGE PROJECTS

 

More than $150 million in “shovel-ready” projects to move forward this spring through federal recovery funding

 

BOSTON– Friday, March 6, 2009 – Governor Patrick today announced the federal government has given Massachusetts the authority to spend $437.9 million on transportation projects through federal highway funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of that funding, approximately $153.2 million will be committed to “shovel-ready” projects advertised for bid within the next 120 days.

 

Federal officials have also announced an additional $319 million in recovery funds will go toward Regional Transit Authorities and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. In addition to the total transportation funding, Massachusetts is in line to receive anywhere between $6-$9 billion over two years for education, health care, public safety, housing and other critical programs.

 

“Funds from the President’s recovery bill come to us at a critical moment, and we are well prepared to put these funds to work,” said Governor Patrick. “Thanks to a careful review process, we will soon have shovels in the ground on necessary road and bridge projects throughout the Commonwealth and start to put people back to work."

 

This first allotment of highway funds will be used for projects across all regions of the Commonwealth. Both highway and transit projects will be selected from the State Transportation Improvement Plan, which is comprised of projects submitted by the state’s 13 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). Projects on each of the MPO’s lists are already qualified to receive federal funding. The State Transportation Improvement Plan is created through a collaborative public review process including the public and dozens of state, regional, and local officials.

 

This first phase of highway projects will cover all regions of the Commonwealth. Both highway and transit projects will be selected from the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) list – a list of projects that are already qualified to receive federal funding. The MPO list is approved by 13 regional planning organizations through a collaborative public review process including dozens of state, regional, and local officials.

 

“Along with our partners on the federal and local levels, we are ready to move on projects that will create jobs in all regions of the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. “The authorization of significant funding for transportation projects is a great first step.”

 

The State Transportation Improvement Plan includes dozens of projects that could receive federal recovery funding. Federal guidelines require MPO approval for projects to be eligible for stimulus funds. Additional projects will go through the MPO approval process and be added to the list of eligible projects over the coming months.

 

“By working with our Mayors and Selectmen along with federal, state, and regional partners in identifying projects, I am confident the infrastructure projects receiving these initial federal stimulus funds will address among the most critical needs in our road and bridge system,” said Transportation Secretary James Aloisi, Jr.

 

Road and bridge projects funded by federal recovery money will be selected from a list of eligible projects in all regions and move forward to bid based upon readiness and the Administration’s priorities, in order to meet the 120-day “use-it-or-lose-it” federal deadline. Additional projects will be funded by the remaining transportation federal stimulus funds, which must be used for projects advertised for bid by March 2010.

 

Massachusettsis prepared to proceed with the $153 million of eligible transportation projects because Governor Patrick began to mobilize in December for federal economic stimulus funding. The Governor established 10 task forces, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and members of his cabinet, to begin the work of mobilizing the Commonwealth for the potential receipt of hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects.

 

"It's clear to people across Massachusetts that our roads and bridges are in great need of repair,” said Director of Infrastructure Investment Jeffrey Simon. “Together with the capital investment plans the Administration has already begun, these additional recovery funds will allow us to make long-delayed improvements in our communities and quickly create the jobs that the men and women of the Commonwealth need."

 

Governor Patrick appointed Simon to lead the Administration's economic recovery infrastructure program in February in order to maximize the Commonwealth's ability to create new jobs and lay a foundation for long-term economic growth.

 

The Patrick-Murray Administration has created an open, transparent process across transportation, economic development, and environmental agencies. The full list of projects eligible to be included in the first phase of federal transportation recovery funding will be posted on Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Plan website.

 

To learn more, go to: http://www.mass.gov/recovery.

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Guest Congressman Charles Gonzalez   
Guest Congressman Charles Gonzalez

How Government Spending Stimulates Private Investment

 

We can all agree, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike, that our economy is in bad shape right now. Businesses are laying people off because profits are down because no one is buying anything. The big question before us, and the subject of the most vigorous debate in Congress and across the country has been, What do we do about it? Again, we generally agree that what needs to happen, the thing that will truly bring us out of this downward spiral and put us back in business, is to get private investment going again. The question is how to do that. Although it is a bit of an oversimplification, the heart of the debate is over whether government spending is a better means to spur private investment than corporate tax cuts.

 

I'll hold off on that for a moment to stress that we are talking about corporate tax cuts. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1) that we just passed contains a number of tax cuts for working men and women and for seniors. Indeed, the "Making Work Pay Tax Credit", which would provide tax relief to 95% of American workers, has always been a central part of the plan and for good reason. Consumer spending is a big part of our economy, and putting that extra $800 in the pocket of working families, those making less than $200,000 per year, will help those families get through these hard times and help our economy at the same time. The tax cuts for senior citizens and those on Medicare will do the same thing, and those tax cuts were always a part of our plan.

 

As I said before, it is corporate tax cuts that have been offered as an alternative to the government spending projects contained in HR 1. In good times, when the economy is rolling, the argument can surely be made that cutting the tax rates for big corporations will lead to investment as these companies build new factories or stores to manufacture or sell their merchandise to eager customers. But these are not good times. Because of all the contractions in our economy, once eager consumers are cutting back on their spending and demand is falling. Even if a company believes that now would be a good time to open a new factory, it isn't likely to get a loan because the bankers don't like the looks of the economy. All that a corporate tax cut is going to do, then, is leave these big corporations and banks sitting on more cash as they wait for a more favorable economy in which to invest. While they wait, the recession continues.

 

But how can government spending help? Well, not by replacing private spending, that's clear. No one who understands the massive size of our economy thinks that government can spend enough money to keep it running, and that's not what we're trying to do. What the government can do, what we must do, and what HR 1 will do is reinvest in our country to spur the private spending we seek. Businessmen are too scared to spend their money and bankers too scared to lend because they both worry that nobody will buy. But the federal government has confidence in our economy. If a construction company gets a government contract to build a new school, they know that there's money out there. When they go to their banker for a loan, the banker can anticipate a return on their investment. So All American Construction Company gets their loan and they're in business.

 

When All American buys supplies from the lumber yard and the hardware store and the electronics shop, those companies are back in business, too. They can go to their bankers for loans and expect to get them. It also means that these companies don't have to lay off John or Mary or Angela or Bob, because they need workers to build the school, cut the lumber, make and sell the hardware, and the like. And John, Mary, Angela, and Bob all get their paychecks, which they can spend on groceries - keeping the store clerks, farmers, and truckers in business - and rent. That's what economists mean when they talk about a "spending multiplier". The same $100,000 construction contract spurs jobs at All American, the hardware store, the grocery store, and on and on and on. (Economist Brad DeLong offers an excellent explanation on his blog.)

 

So that's why and how the government spending in HR 1 can help stimulate private spending and get our economy back on track. Now, it is true that we must pay for this spending by further borrowing and, while the international uncertainty means that we can borrow at very low interest rates, that is a legitimate concern. (I would mention, though, that the tax cut proposals would require borrowing, too. The DeMint amendment, which would have replaced all government spending in HR 1 with tax cuts, would cost an estimated $3.1 trillion dollars.) But that concern can be overblown. In the 1930s, President Roosevelt heard cries that it would take generations to pay off the debt run up by his spending, yet the 1950s witnessed the greatest prosperity our nation had ever seen.

 

The simple fact is that sensible borrowing can be the best decision. Think of a farmer taking out a mortgage to repair his tractor: sure, he's going into debt, but a working tractor will allow him to make the money to pay off that debt and still turn a profit. Without that mortgage, his crops would be lost and he would be in much more trouble than if he just had to repay a portion of his profits to the bank.

 

So, that's where we stand with HR 1. There are things I wish had been included in the final bill, things we had passed in the House originally and some that we didn't, but this bill is a good bill. It makes sensible investments in our country and in our future. To get through these hard times, we need to work together, every one of us, as a country, and this legislation is a solid foundation on which we can build.

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Guest Phil Angelides   
Guest Phil Angelides

The economic stimulus bill is a huge victory for green jobs and a clean energy future. Because of your strong advocacy, the final legislation called for huge investments that will get us off oil, address the climate crisis, and create good jobs. It could mean a LOT for your state.

 

But we can't afford a victory lap until our state leaders spend the funds wisely! We can't let "green" money go to waste – lost to projects that won't create clean energy and good jobs.

 

The money is landing in state coffers NOW – and business as usual lobbyists are making their rounds. We need your help immediately to keep the stimulus green in your state.

 

Tell your governor and state lawmakers to spend stimulus money on what it was meant for – building a sustainable green economy. Then, please ask your friends and family to take action, too.

 

We can see from our own front yards what this historic recession is doing to our neighbors and our own communities. It is devastating so many middle-class Americans.

 

The good news is that states and communities across the country – often with the help of the Apollo Alliance – have found cost-effective ways to create good, family-supporting jobs that build a better, cleaner economic future.

 

* In Duluth, Minnesota, the local port is booming thanks to new contracts with wind turbine manufacturers. That means more crews on the ground with some new jobs bringing a wage of $30 per hour.

* In southern Nevada, the country's first new thermal solar electricity plant in 17 years generates enough power to serve 14,000 homes and created 800 construction jobs.

* In Chicago, a community college developed a certification program to train construction workers in energy efficiency and sustainable construction.

 

The stimulus bill provides critical funding for more innovative state projects like these that create clean energy and good jobs. We need to make sure that your state's leaders seize this historic opportunity.

 

Tell your state officials that going green is the way to get our economy moving again.

 

Then spread the word and make sure all your friends and family are weighing in, too.

 

We can restore American economic greatness and solve the energy crisis. We can leave a legacy of both broadly-shared prosperity and environmental sustainability to the next generation in your state – and across America.

 

Thanks for taking action,

 

Phil Angelides

Chairman

The Apollo Alliance

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Guest Gordon Hickey   
Guest Gordon Hickey

Governor Timothy M. Kaine issued the following statement today on the signing of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Full Funding Grant Agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

 

"One of my top transportation priorities has been to see Dulles Rail become a reality. The signing of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreement for Phase 1 of the project is an accomplishment that has taken more than 10 years to achieve and I am proud to have this honor.

 

"I want to extend my sincere appreciation to all those involved in making this project a reality – Virginia's Congressional Delegation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Dulles Transit Partners, and the transportation staff of the Commonwealth – all of whom have demonstrated commitment and support to this long overdue transportation choice in the Dulles Corridor.

 

"This project has been under development for more than 10 years and the leadership of Representative Tom Davis and Senator John Warner who have now retired from Congress was a key element of our success. The signing of this agreement shows how leadership and willingness to work together can serve as a model for future complex projects and how federal, state, local, and private partners can work together to address the needs of our citizens.

 

"I look forward to construction beginning in the coming weeks and making a 40-year dream a reality."

 

More information on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, is available at

 

http://www.dullesmetro.com

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Guest Dean DeBuck   
Guest Dean DeBuck

OCC Focuses on Stabilizing Communities Affected by Foreclosures

 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today published a Community Developments Insights report that describes how banks and their partners in the community are working to dispose of foreclosed properties in creative ways that will preserve affordable housing opportunities and stabilize communities.

 

"Banks are tapping into the existing strength of community-based organizations and local government agencies to facilitate the purchase and rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed properties for their rental and homeownership initiatives,” said Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan. “These partnerships will not only help revitalize and stabilize communities by providing much needed affordable housing, they can also help banks reduce the costs associated with managing foreclosed properties."

 

This Insights report reviews initiatives and strategies for building partnerships between banks and nonprofit organizations, for-profit affordable housing developers, government entities, and others. The report discusses how national banks may use a variety of funding and financing tools, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the new markets and low income housing tax credit programs to facilitate the sale of foreclosed properties. The Insights report also provides banks with guidance regarding stabilization activities that may qualify for consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act.

 

The OCC has a team of Community Affairs Officers who are located around the country and are able to assist community-based organizations in identifying foreclosed property initiatives with successful track records.

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Guest Human_*   
Guest Human_*

Here is some thing that President Barack Obama is saying about the "Spending Bill" Stimulus package.

 

[Don't waste stimulus, Obama warns And don't look for more help if you do, states told "http://www.freep.com/article/20090313/NEWS15/903130367"]

 

And Since I AM GOING AFTER A THIRD OF IT; At least in the state that I live in "To be Honest" I WILL have a field day.

 

[in the article I wish that they would re-state this "About 125 people from 49 states filled an auditorium with theater-style seating in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. Idaho was unable to send a representative.

 

" as the OLD EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUILDING, and I know the lay out of that place well enough to go into detail if it so pleases me, But I wont for security reasons.]

 

Just Fantasy typing right now, If I were one of those representatives? I would have taken the stairs instead of the elevators, because there is alot of history in that place, and to really get a feel for it?

 

The Stairs are more representative of the history of the old executive office building than the elevators are in the sense that elevators came in later in the history of the old executive office building.

 

But that's just me, also I did take the stairs starting from the top down, and I did get stuck a couple of times, but I did do it, and yeah! It was a stupid thing to do "I tore my wheelchair apart in doing it, but it really was worth it".

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Guest Skinner   
Guest Skinner

Rush Limbaugh is right. Our government does not have the right to take money from the back pockets of producers, and give it to groups like ACORN, which are going to advance the Democrat Party. You know why the poor remain poor? Because their lives have been destroyed by the never-ending government welfare money that's designed to help them, but it destroys ambition. It destroys the education they might get to learn to be self-fulfilling. The people that make this country work, the people who pay on their mortgages, the people getting up and going to work, striving in this recession to not participate in it, they're not the enemy. They're the people that hire you. They're the people that are going to give you a job. They're the people that are going to give you a raise, the people that need you to do work for them.

 

It didn't take long for people to get fired up when they figured out that they're going to be paying mortgages for people who should never have been lent money in the first place for the bogus excuse of maintaining property values in the neighborhood. This is something that -- the complacency of the American people is something they're going to rely on along with their authoritarian efforts to control it. But they will not succeed at this. Because we're not quitters. We don't acquiesce. We're not going to give up the American dream and watch idly while it is restructured and transformed. I hope Rush Limbaugh runs for President. He has got my vote.

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Guest Guest   
Guest Guest

I think you are not seeing the bigger picture of this act.

 

**********************************************

 

Vice President Biden, Railroad Administrator, Members of Congress

Announce Funding for Amtrak in Recovery Act

 

Washington, DC – Standing at Washington, DC’s Union Station, one of the most traveled railway stations in the nation, Vice President Joe Biden announced that Amtrak will receive $1.3 billion in grant funding from the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to expand passenger rail capacity. He was joined by Jo Strang, Acting Federal Railroad Administrator, along with several members of Congress, including: Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA); Senator John Kerry (D-MA); Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-W.Va); Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL); Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ); Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE); Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.); Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL); Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD); Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA); Congressman Christopher Carney (D-PA); and Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN).

 

"Over 28 million passengers ride Amtrak each year. That’s about 500,000 passengers a week – or 80,000 a day," said Vice President Biden. "For too long, we haven’t made the investments we needed to make Amtrak as safe, as reliable, as secure as it can be. That ends now. The funds in the Recovery Act for Amtrak will help create jobs and at the same time, repair and update critical needs of our nation’s infrastructure."

 

"This is the Obama Administration keeping its promise to America," said Secretary LaHood. "We are investing in jobs that will allow Amtrak to add and modernize cars and engines and upgrade its tracks. We are getting transportation money to Americans quickly in order to get the American economy going again."

 

ARRA funding will roughly double the size of Amtrak’s capital investment program over a two-year period. It will be used to upgrade railroad assets and infrastructure and for capital projects that expand passenger rail capacity.

 

Among the improvement projects that will be undertaken are replacement of a major drawbridge on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), repairs to Amtrak facilities nationwide, the repair and return to service of nearly 70 stored and damaged passenger cars, and the rehabilitation of major elements of the NEC electrification system.

 

Repairs to passenger cars will be performed at Amtrak’s facilities in Beech Grove, Indiana, and Bear, Delaware, where Amtrak plans to hire skilled workers laid off from jobs at recently shuttered manufacturing facilities located nearby.

 

In addition to helping Amtrak achieve a state of good repair for its critical infrastructure and assets, the projects to be funded through the ARRA will result in tangible benefits to Amtrak’s passengers, including increased capacity (with fewer sold-out trains), improved operational reliability, and increased passenger comfort and accessibility at stations. Refurbished rolling stock that is returned to service may also be available for use on new State-supported routes.

 

The Vice President also noted that Amtrak’s hiring for ARRA projects represents a major investment not just in infrastructure, but also in the railroad’s employees. As a large portion of Amtrak’s skilled workforce nears retirement age, workers hired for ARRA projects will be trained and ready to step in to a long-term role on the railroad.

 

The economic recovery funds will be managed through a formal grant agreement between the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Amtrak, consistent with ARRA transparency and accountability requirements, including those related to job creation, assisting those areas most impacted by the recession, making investments that increase economic efficiency and provide long-term economic benefits. The grant agreement will also ensure timely expenditure of the funding within two years and ensure that Amtrak complies with newly established financial, operational, and customer service standards.

 

http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/2153

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Guest TrueBrit   
Guest TrueBrit

Government of the credit card, by the credit card, and for the credit card.

 

Watch out USA you are in for some very serious problems.

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Guest Suzy Bohnert   
Guest Suzy Bohnert

The U.S. Department of Labor today issued policy guidance to states and outlying areas for the implementation of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) investments in core employment and training programs. This critical investment of $3,514,500,000 in the nation's workforce system and network of One-Stop Career Centers is intended to help unemployed Americans upgrade their skills and get back to work.

 

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20090265.htm

 

ETA will be a key resource to the Administration’s “Green Jobs” initiative. The Green Jobs Act would support on-the-ground apprenticeship and job training programs to meet growing demand for green construction professionals skilled in energy efficiency and renewable energy installations. The Act envisions sound and practical energy investments for 3 million new jobs by helping companies retool and retrain workers to produce clean energy and energy efficient components or end products that will result in residential and commercial energy savings, industry revenue, and new green jobs throughout the country.

 

To better serve the workforce system and its efforts to support green jobs and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ETA has developed a draft green jobs framework for action. The framework identifies the foundational and operational elements required for serving the needs of the workforce system and its customers. It is designed to promote the development of new and existing green jobs, and hasten widespread employment in green careers across several industry sectors.

 

http://www.americangreenjobs.net

 

http://www.doleta.gov/business

 

http://www.doleta.gov/usworkforce

 

http://www.workforce3one.org/

 

http://www.doleta.gov/oa/

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Guest DOE   
Guest DOE

President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Funding to Support Next Generation Electric Vehicles

DOE Support for Advanced Battery Manufacturing and Electric Vehicle Deployment to Create Tens of Thousands of U.S. Jobs

POMONA, CA - Today, President Barack Obama announced the availability of $2.4 billion in funding to put American ingenuity and America's manufacturers to work producing next generation Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and the advanced battery components that will make these vehicles run. The initiative will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and help us end our addiction to foreign oil. Americans who decide to purchase these Plug-in Hybrid vehicles can claim a tax credit of up to $7,500.

 

"This investment will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will put Americans back to work," President Obama said. "It positions American manufacturers on the cutting edge of innovation and solving our energy challenges."

 

While visiting Southern California Edison's Electric Vehicle Center, the President announced the following:

 

The Department of Energy is offering up to $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce these highly efficient batteries and their components.

The Department of Energy is offering up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components.

The Department of Energy is offering up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts -- like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles.

By contributing to the reduction of petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, these projects will advance the United States' economic recovery, national energy security, and environmental sustainability. Today's announcement will also help meet the President's goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.

 

Advanced batteries, capable of meeting standards for durability, performance, and weight, are a key technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and other electric vehicles. DOE plans to provide assistance to construct or upgrade battery manufacturing, component, and recycling plants for lithium-ion and other advanced batteries, as well as for production factories for electric drive vehicle power electronics. These agreements will help lower the cost of battery packs, batteries, and electric propulsion systems, enabling manufacturers to establish a thriving domestic electric vehicle industry. These advanced battery factories will also support battery manufacturing for consumer products, as well as military and utility applications.

 

DOE will also support demonstration, evaluation, and education projects to help develop the market for advanced electric drive vehicles. These vehicles will get up to 100 miles per gallon, achieve a driving range of up to 40 miles without recharging and run much like today's hybrids beyond that 40 mile range. Under this program, the DOE will also demonstrate other electric vehicle technologies such as truck stop electrification to reduce idling, electric rail, and necessary infrastructure. The solicitation covers demonstration projects that test a variety of vehicles, including small off-road vehicles, passenger vehicles, and over-the-road trucks, in geographically and climatically diverse locations.

 

These projects will be funded with funds appropriated by the President's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Together, the Administration expects these projects will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and help end our addiction to foreign oil. The Act gives preference to activities that can be started and completed expeditiously. DOE's approach includes jointly funding partnerships with industry to develop technologies that will support the Recovery Act's goals and accelerate the adoption of successful technologies in high volume production vehicles. More information on the Recovery Act and projects funded by it are available at Recovery.gov

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Guest DOE   
Guest DOE

Obama-Biden Administration Announces More Than $164.1 Million in Weatherization Funding and Energy Efficiency Grants for Virginia

 

Part of nearly $8 billion in Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency efforts nationwide that will create 100,000 jobs and cut energy bills for families

 

Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Chu announced Virginia will receive $164,135,276 in weatherization and energy efficiency funding – including $94,134,276 for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $70,001,000 for the State Energy Program. This is part of a nationwide investment announced today of nearly $8 billion under the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – an investment that will put approximately 87,000 Americans to work.

 

“This energy efficiency funding for states is an important investment in making America more energy independent, creating a cleaner economy and creating more jobs for the 21st century that can’t be outsourced,” said Vice President Biden.

 

The funding will support weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment, which will pay for itself many times over.

 

“Even as we seize the enormous potential of clean energy sources like wind and solar, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act makes a major investment in energy efficiency, which is the most cost effective route to energy independence,” Chu said.

 

The Weatherization Assistance Program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and will be available for families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level – or about $44,000 a year for a family of four.

 

The State Energy Program funding will be available for rebates to consumers for home energy audits or other energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects for clean electricity generation and alternative fuels; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.

 

The DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program allows low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient, reducing heating bills by an average of 32% and overall energy bills by hundreds of dollars per year.

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Guest Luke   
Guest Luke

I got this message sent to me.

 

Per the list released from DDOT (note: coverage of the District's stimulus plans is nonexistent by our local newspapers), the New York Avenue Bridge project made the cut, but the New YorkAvenue/Florida Avenue Intersection project (which was assumed to be the"virtual traffic circle"proposed a few years back and was thought to be headed forimplementation this year) is noticeably absent. Whether this is due to arethinking of the intersection plan (perhaps validated by the $50,000 technical assistance grant recently awarded to NoMa), I have no idea.

 

As for the bridge project, the description is as follows:

 

New York Avenue Bridge, NE

 

Project Type: Bridge

Project State(s): District of Columbia

Federal Funding Requested: $30-$40M

Readiness: Construction to begin August 2009

 

The project includes the demolition andreconstruction of the existing New York Avenue Bridge over therailroad. The existing bridge is on a fractured critical list. A newbridge deck with wider sidewalk, lighting and new piers will beinstalled.

 

I do not see how (without major expense) it is possible fordemolition and reconstruction of a bridge to take place over an openpedestrian trail. Could the Metropolitan Branch Trail, languishing ina stalemate for 15 years, complete the segment from Franklin Ave. toNew York Avenue only to be closed for 1-2 years? Cruel irony.

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Guest Mike Huckabee   
Guest Mike Huckabee

As a child of the Great Depression, my mother wasn't able to go to college -- but I swear she was smarter than the educated people who are running the country right now.

 

And if Mom were alive today, she'd probably give our leaders the same scolding she used to give me: "You have a champagne appetite and a Coca-Cola paycheck."

 

That was her way of saying that, when you want something you can't afford, you have to work hard and save up for it. But if you try to live beyond your means, you'll end up with nothing but big debts and a bad reputation.

 

Advice like that used to be common sense, of course. And it still is, among the vast majority of "Main Street" Americans who work hard, pay their mortgages, and rely on themselves -- not government -- to provide for their families and their retirement.

 

But in what I call the "Wall Street-to-Washington Axis of Power," different rules apply. Your bank is failing because you lent billions to unqualified borrowers? No problem: Here's a multi-billion-dollar bailout to cover your losses -- and to pay yourselves obscene bonuses. Your trillion-dollar budget has no room for a new set of big-government entitlements? No problem: We'll just print a few trillion more dollars -- and worry about inflation later.

 

That may not be the "change" that many Americans voted for last November -- but it's the change we're all getting. And we're stuck with it for at least a few more years.

 

In the meantime, however, how can you and I secure our financial futures even as President Obama and Congress are doing so much to drive down our economy?

 

As a politician and talk-show host, I wouldn't say I'm qualified to answer that for you -- but thankfully, I know someone who is.

 

His name is Doug Fabian, one of the few investment advisors today who isn't part of the Wall Street/Washington "axis" -- and one of the even fewer who wasn't blindsided by the financial meltdown.

 

In fact, Doug started warning his subscribers back in early 2006 about the potential likely collapse of the mortgage and housing market -- and steered his readers away from stocks months ahead of the historic market decline last fall.

 

As a result of advice like that, Investor's Business Daily once proclaimed Doug "one of the best market timers in the business." And the financial-advice industry's "watchdog" newsletter, The Hulbert Financial Digest, rated one of Doug's trading services in the Top 10 for 2008 -- out of 186 financial publications overall.

 

Now, if you're like me, you probably don't want to spend a lot of time investing -- especially in today's volatile markets. And you certainly don't want to spend a lot of money on investment advice.

 

Fortunately, Doug Fabian's flagship investment newsletter, Successful Investing, is aimed precisely at people like us.

 

For 32 years, Successful Investing has helped ordinary investors generate consistent double-digit annual returns -- no matter what the overall markets are doing -- by adhering to a time-tested trend-following strategy that has come to be known as the Fabian Plan.

 

Better yet, those consistent double-digit profits are the result of one of the easiest, least time-consuming, and most conservative investment approaches you'll ever find.

 

Let's not kid ourselves: Times are tough in America -- and with Obama and Nancy Pelosi running the show, they're likely to get tougher. But you and I can still prosper -- if we have the tools in place to safely profit even when the market declines. A no-risk subscription to Successful Investing will help you do just that.

 

Click here to learn more.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mike Huckabee

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Guest August   
Guest August

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment in response to numerous media inquiries regarding who included language to protect bailout company bonuses in the economic stimulus bill, now law. Grassley is ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with jurisdiction over tax policy.

 

"Being named a conferee to the conference committee for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act meant you were invited to the final, formal meeting late on February 11, where the conference report was announced after it was finalized. This meeting was a photo op that took place hours after Majority Leader Reid announced that the Democrats had reached a deal. Every Republican on the conference committee was left out of the negotiations and consultations entirely. The fact is that the bill the President signed, which protected the AIG bonuses and others, was written behind closed

doors by Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. There was no transparency, so the only way the public will ever know who added the language to protect bailout company bonuses is if someone from the small group of Democrats in the room says so."

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Guest Wesco   
Guest Wesco

Deepika Singh from Sinmat and Neal Verfueth from Orion Energy Systems have been growing their dynamic businesses in this recession by focusing on technology and products that help us solve some of our most pressing needs – energy efficiency, smarter technology, and more integrated systems.

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