The Republican minority is doing everything they can to embarrass President Obama by, among other things, blocking the stimulus plan in order to make it look like the Democrats are to blame for the recession and they're doing a great job of it.
I know Obama is working overtime to be non-partisan, but he's already made more of an effort than Bush did in eight years to extend his hand accross the aisle.
It's a basic difference of philosphy here. Republicans believe in trickle-down economics (i.e., putting billions more into banks and CEO's pockets and hoping they'll share the wealth). Demcrats believe in trickle-up economics (i.e. getting money into programs that directly create jobs and rebuild lending). Anyway, make up your own mind.
Here's the stimulus package that Obama is going to sign into law. Oh, and the "pork" the Republicans are talking about falls under the category of "science," which they don't believe in because god created everything from the earth to tylenol.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Creating Jobs, Supporting the States and Investing in Our Country’s Future
The United States is facing its deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, one that calls for swift, bold action. The goals of this legislation are the same as they have been from day one: to strengthen the economy now and invest in our country’s future.
This legislation will create and save jobs; help state and local governments with their budget shortfalls to prevent deep cuts in basic services such as health, education, and law enforcement; cut taxes for working families and invest in the long-term health of our economy. We do all of this with unprecedented accountability, oversight and transparency so the American people know their money is being invested responsibly.
To accomplish these goals, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $311 billion in appropriations, including the following critical investments:
Investments in Infrastructure and Science - $120 billion
Investments in Health - $14.2 billion
Investments in Education and Training - $105.9 billion
Investments in Energy, including over $30 billion in infrastructure - $37.5 billion
Helping Americans Hit Hardest by the Economic Crisis - $24.3 billion
Law Enforcement, Oversight, Other Programs - $7.8 billion
I encourage you to read the full breakdown of the above information after the jump. It's worth understanding this important piece of legislation, which to me seems pretty reasonable. In fact, I think the bill could be larger...
Here's the breakdown of the bill:
Investments in Infrastructure and Science include:
- $7.2 billion for Broadband to increase broadband access and usage in unserved and underserved areas of the Nation, which will better position the U.S. for economic growth, innovation, and job creation.
- $2.75 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to secure the homeland and promote economic activity, including $1 billion for airport baggage and checkpoint security, $430 million for construction of border points of entry, $210 million for construction of fire stations, $300 million for port, transit, and rail security, $280 million for border security technology and communication, and $240 million for the Coast Guard.
- $4.6 billion in funding for the Corps of Engineers.
- $1.2 billion for VA hospital and medical facility construction and improvements, long-term care facilities for veterans, and improvements at VA national cemeteries.
- $3.1 billion for repair, restoration and improvement of public facilities at on public and tribal lands.
- $4.2 billion for Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization to be used to invest in energy efficiency projects and to improve the repair and modernization of Department of Defense facilities to include Defense Health facilities.
- $2.33 billion for Department of Defense Facilities including quality of life and family-friendly military improvement projects such as family housing, hospitals, and child care centers.
- $2.25 billion through HOME and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to fill financing gaps caused by the credit freeze and get stalled housing development projects moving.
- $1 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program for community and economic development projects including housing and services for those hit hard by tough economic times.
- $1 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation to provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural areas and to ensure adequate water supply to western localities impacted by drought.
- $27.5 billion is included for highway investments
- $8.4 billion for investments in public transportation.
- $1.5 billion for competitive grants to state and local governments for transportation investments.
- $1.3 billion for investments in our air transportation system.
- $9.3 billion for investments in rail transportation, including Amtrak, High Speed and Intercity Rail.
- $4 billion to the public housing capital fund to enable local public housing agencies to address a $32 billion backlog in capital needs -- especially those improving energy efficiency in aging buildings.
- $2 billion for full-year payments to owners receiving Section 8 project-based rental assistance.
- $2 billion for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes.
- $1.5 billion for homeless prevention activities, which will be sent out to states, cities and local governments through the emergency shelter grant formula.
- $250 million is included for energy retrofitting and green investments in HUD-assisted housing projects.
Environmental Clean-Up/Clean Water
- $6 billion is directed towards environmental cleanup of former weapon production and energy research sites.
- $6 billion for local clean and drinking water infrastructure improvements.
- $1.2 billion for EPA’s nationwide environmental cleanup programs, including Superfund.
- $1.38 billion to support $3.8 billion in loans and grants for needed water and waste disposal facilities in rural areas.
- $1 billion total for NASA.
- $3 billion total for National Science Foundation (NSF).
- $2 billion total for Science at the Department of Energy including $400 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E).
- $830 million total for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
Investments in Health include:
- $19 billion, including $2 billion in discretionary funds and $17 billion for investments and incentives through Medicare and Medicaid to ensure widespread adoption and use of interoperable health information technology (IT). This provision will grow jobs in the information technology sector, and will jumpstart efforts to increase the use of health IT in doctors’ offices, hospitals and other medical facilities. This will reduce health care costs and improve the quality of health care for all Americans.
- $1 billion for prevention and wellness programs to fight preventable diseases and conditions with evidence-based strategies.
- $10 billion to conduct biomedical research in areas such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stem cells, and to improve NIH facilities.
- $1.1 billion to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NIH and the HHS Office of the Secretary to evaluate the relative effectiveness of different health care services and treatment options.
Investments in Education and Training include:
- $53.6 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, including $39.5 billion to local school districts using existing funding formulas, which can be used for preventing cutbacks, preventing layoffs, school modernization, or other purposes; $5 billion to states as bonus grants for meeting key performance measures in education; and $8.8 billion to states for high priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include education and for modernization, renovation and repairs of public school facilities and institutions of higher education facilities.
- $13 billion for Title 1 to help close the achievement gap and enable disadvantaged students to reach their potential.
- $12.2 billion for Special Education/IDEA to improve educational outcomes for disabled children. This level of funding will increase the Federal share of special education services to its highest level ever.
- $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500. This aid will help 7 million students pursue postsecondary education.
- $3.95 billion for job training including State formula grants for adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs (including $1.2 billion to create up to one million summer jobs for youth).
Investments in Energy include:
- $4.5 billion for repair of federal buildings to increase energy efficiency using green technology.
- $3.4 billion for Fossil Energy research and development.
- $11 billion for smart-grid related activities, including work to modernize the electric grid.
- $6.3 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grants.
- $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
- $2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research.
- $2 billion in grant funding for the manufacturing of advanced batteries systems and components and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States.
- $6 billion for new loan guarantees aimed at standard renewable projects such as wind or solar projects and for electricity transmission projects.
- $1 billion for other energy efficiency programs including alternative fuel trucks and buses, transportation charging infrastructure, and smart and energy efficient appliances.
Help for Workers and Families Hardest Hit by the Economic Crisis includes:
- $19.9 billion for additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food Stamps, to increase the benefit by 13.6 percent.
- Child Care Development Block Grant: $2 billion to provide quality child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families who increasingly are unable to afford the high cost of day care.
- Head Start & Early Head Start: $2.1 billion to allow an additional 124,000 children to participate in this program, which provides development, educational, health, nutritional, social and other activities that prepare children to succeed in school.
- State and Local Law Enforcement: $4 billion total to support law enforcement efforts.
- $555 million to expand the Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) during the national mortgage crisis.
Unprecedented Oversight, Accountability and Transparency
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan provides unprecedented oversight, accountability, and transparency to ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested effectively, efficiently, and as quickly as possible.
- Funds are distributed whenever possible through existing formulas and programs that have proven track records and accountability measures already in place.
- Numerous provisions in the bill provide for expedited but effective obligation of funds so that dollars are invested in the economy as quickly as possible.
- The Government Accountability Office and the Inspectors General are provided additional funding for auditing and investigating recovery spending.
- A new Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board will coordinate and conduct oversight of recovery spending and provide early warning of problems.
- A special website will provide transparency by posting information about recovery spending, including grants, contracts, and all oversight activities.
- State and local whistleblowers who report fraud and abuse are protected.
- There are no earmarks in this bill.