02.13.09

House Passes Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Create Jobs Through Infrastructure Investment and Tax Cuts

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Friday, February 13, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

House Passes Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Create Jobs Through Infrastructure Investment and Tax Cuts

Washington, D.C. – Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) today voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a bill that is designed to get our economy moving again and transform it for long-term growth and stability. The compromise package of $787 billion is estimated to create or save 3.5 million jobs nationwide over the next two years, including close to 400,000 jobs in California and 7,700 jobs in the 29th Congressional District, according to a White House report.

“I hear from constituents every day who are hurting from the current economic crisis,” said Schiff. “We need swift action to help put people back to work and to ensure needed assistance is available to keep families afloat in these turbulent times. This bill creates jobs through infrastructure spending, provides tax relief to nearly everyone, and takes important steps to transform our economy.”

This legislation assists state and local governments with their budget shortfalls to prevent deep cuts in basic services such as health, education, and law enforcement. It provides 95 percent of American workers an immediate tax cut and invests in roads, bridges, mass transit, energy efficient buildings and other infrastructure projects. It also provides funding for science and technology to tackle urgent national challenges like climate change, cancer research and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.
Below is a more in-depth review of some of the provisions included in this critical stimulus measure:

Financial Assistance to those in Need:

  • Provides immediate and sustained tax relief to 95 percent of American workers through the Making Work Pay Tax Cut, a refundable tax credit of up to $400 per worker ($800 per couple filing jointly), phasing out completely at $200,000 for couples filing jointly and $100,000 for single filers;
  • Helps first-time homebuyers and strengthens the housing market by enhancing the current credit for first-time home purchases with the removal of the repayment requirement;
  • Continues through December 2009 the extended unemployment benefits program (which provides up to 33 weeks of extended benefits) thereby helping an additional 3.5 million jobless workers;
  • Increases unemployment benefits for 20 million jobless workers by $25 per week; and
  • Provides funding to help workers find jobs, including $4 billion for job training.

Economic Growth through Science and Technology:

  • Provides a total of $30 billion for a smart power grid, advanced battery technology, and energy efficiency initiatives, which will create nearly 500,000 jobs;
  • Provides $1 billion for NASA, including $400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research;
  • Supports U.S. development of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems through loans and grants to help transform the way automobiles are powered;
  • Provides $20 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next 10 years;
  • Includes a three-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for electricity derived from wind (through 2012) and for electricity derived from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine facilities (through 2013);
  • Provides a tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles to spur the next generation of American cars; 
  • Includes clean renewable energy bonds for State and local governments; and
  • Establishes a new manufacturing investment tax credit for investment in advanced energy facilities, such as facilities that manufacture components for the production of renewable energy, advanced battery technology and other innovative next-generation green technologies. 

Improving Education and Preventing Teacher Layoffs:

  • Prevents teacher layoffs and cutbacks in education and other key services, by establishing a $53.6 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, including $40.6 billion for local school districts using existing funding formulas, which can be used to prevent cutbacks, prevent layoffs, school modernization, or for other purposes; 
  • Provides $13 billion for Title I grants to help disadvantaged kids reach high academic standards – ensuring that in this period of tight state and local budgets these vital services are maintained;
  • Provides $12.2 billion for grants for IDEA (Special Education) to increase the federal share of these costs, and prevent these mandatory costs from forcing states to cut other areas of education;
  • Helps more than 4 million additional students attend college with a new, partially refundable $2,500 tax credit for families;
  • Increases the maximum Pell Grant by $500, for a maximum of $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010; and
  • Adds $200 million to the vital College Work-Study program.

 
Investments in Infrastructure:

  • Provides $29 billion for modernizing roads and bridges, which will create 835,000 jobs;
  • Requires states to obligate at least half of the highway/bridge funding within 120 days;
  • Provides $8.4 billion for investments in transit and $8 billion for investment in high-speed rail;
  • Includes funds for new constructing new commuter and light rail networks and purchasing buses and equipment needed to increase public transportation; and
  • Provides billions to modernize federal and other public infrastructure with investments that lead to long-term energy cost savings.


Advancing Efficiency in Health Care and Securing Coverage:

  • Provides $19 billion to accelerate adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) systems, otherwise known as electronic health records, to help doctors and hospitals save billions of dollars, reduce medical errors and improve quality of care;
  • Protects health care coverage for millions of Americans during this recession, by providing an estimated $87 billion over the next two years in additional federal matching funds to help states maintain their Medicaid programs in the face of massive state budget shortfalls;
  • Provides a 60% subsidy for COBRA premiums for up to 9 months to help laid-off workers maintain their employer’s health insurance; and
  • Provides $8.5 billion for NIH, including expanding good jobs in biomedical research to study diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and heart disease.