Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President Signs American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Feb 17: In record time, President Obama and House and Senate Democrats have passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) [See WIMS 2/12/09] -- a $787 billion package. The package was able to obtain only three Republican votes on the Senate side that were critical to meeting the 60 vote requirement for passage in the Senate. While Republicans in Washington, DC have nearly unanimously rejected the package of stimulus funding, many Republican governors throughout the country and major business and manufacturing, mining and transportation associations supported the bills passage.

President Obama signed the bill this afternoon (February 17, 2009) at a signing ceremony in Colorado and called the action a "major milestone on our road to recovery," while still emphasizing that we have many miles yet to go. The President said, "Congress has passed my economic recovery plan -- an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it. It will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, ignite spending by business and consumers alike, and lay a new foundation for our lasting economic growth and prosperity." The President acknowledged that some people are skeptical about the plan given how Washington has performed in the past, which is why he's encouraging people to check back at Recovery.gov -- the site where, once the plan is in action, you'll be able to track the funds. He said, "Utlimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it's going and how it's spent."

The following is a summary of some of the details for energy, science, infrastructure, water resources and environmental cleanup included in the funding package. [Note: The links below provide even more details.]

Clean, Efficient, American Energy: Over $30 billion to transform the nation’s energy transmission, distribution, and production systems by allowing for a smarter and better grid and focusing investment in renewable technology. $5 billion to weatherize modest-income homes.

Further details for this category include: Reliable, Efficient Electricity Grid: $11 billion; Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees: $6 billion; GSA Federal Buildings: $4.5 billion; Local Government Energy Efficiency Grants: $6.3 billion; Energy Efficiency Housing Retrofits: $250 million; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research: $2.5 billion; Advanced Battery Grants: $2 billion; Home Weatherization: $5 billion; Smart Appliances: $300 million; GSA Federal Fleet: $300 million; Electric Transportation: $400 million; Cleaning Fossil Energy (carbon capture and sequestration): $3.4 billion; Department of Defense Research: $300 million; Alternative Buses and Trucks: $300 million; Diesel Emissions Reduction: $300 million; and Training for Green Jobs: $500 million.

Transform our Economy with Science and Technology: $15 billion for science facilities, research, and instrumentation. $7.2 billion to expand broadband internet access so businesses in rural and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy.

Further details for this category include: Wireless and Broadband Grants: $7.2 billion; National Science Foundation: $3 billion; National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research: $8.7 billion; University Research Facilities: $1.3 billion; Department of Energy: $2 billion; NASA: $1 billion; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: $600 million; National Institute of Standards and Technology: $360 million; NOAA Operations, Research and Facilities: $230 million; U.S. Geological Survey: $140 million; Small Business Administration: $720 million; Rural Business-Cooperative Service: $150 million; Economic Development Assistance: $150 million; Community Development Financial Institutions: $100 million; Digital TV Conversion Coupons: $650 million.

Modernize Roads, Bridges, Transit and Waterways: $27.5 billion for highway construction; $16.5 billion to modernize federal and other public infrastructure with investments that lead to long term energy cost savings; $18.8 billion for clean water, flood control, and environmental restoration investments; $17.7 billion for transit and rail to reduce traffic congestion and gas consumption.

Further details for this category include: $27.5 billion for highway and bridge construction projects and $1.5 billion for competitive grants to state and local governments for transportation investment. Transit New Construction: $750 million; Transit Upgrades and Repair: $750 million; Transit Capital Assistance: $6.9 billion; Amtrak: $1.3 billion; High Speed Rail and Intercity Passenger Rail Grants: $8 billion; Airport Improvement Grants: $1.1 billion; Transportation Security Administration Explosive Detection Systems: $1 billion; Border and Ports of Entry: $720 million; and Coast Guard: $240 million.

More details for Clean Water, Environmental Cleanup: Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $4 billion; Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $2 billion; Rural Water and Waste Disposal: $1.38 billion; Corps of Engineers: $4.6 billion; Bureau of Reclamation: $1 billion; Watershed Infrastructure: $340 million; International Boundary and Water Commission: $220 million; Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup: $600 million; Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: $200 million; Nuclear Waste Cleanup: $6 billion; NOAA Operations, Research and Facilities: $230 million; Brownfields: $100 million; Construction on Public Lands: $2.5 billion; Reducing Wildfires Threats: $515 million; Bureau of Indian Affairs: $500 million.

In addition to the overall funding, the Center for American Progress (CAP) has developed an interactive U.S. map that provides state-by-state allocations of approximately 69 percent of the total cost of the act where CAP could establish the money distribution of amounts greater than $1 billion and where funding formulas were available. The map compares the amount that each state will get relative to the size of its economy, measured using each state’s 2007 gross state product (GSP).

The state and local funds include, among other provisions, direct tax cuts for working families and those with children; increased unemployment insurance and food stamps to help those most in need; new funding to equip the education system for the 21st century; additional funds for clean energy programs; state-level infrastructure projects; and assistance that is necessary to protect vital services such as Medicaid. CAP notes that many of the other programs in the recovery plan will be distributed through competitive grants to states and localities, or through funding formulas where it is not possible to make estimates at this stage. The remainder is for programs that are distributed at the federal level [See link below for the CAP map].

Access the President's comments (
click here); and here (click here). Access a 4-page summary (click here). Access a detailed 12-page summary (click here). Access Text of the Conference Report - Division A (click here). Access Text of the Conference Report - Division B (click here). Access Joint Explanatory Statement - Division A (click here). Access Joint Explanatory Statement - Division B (click here). Access a detailed, line-by-line summary by major category from the Wall Street Journal (click here). Access the CAP map and links to explanatory information and an Excel spreadsheet (click here). Access legislative details for H.R. 1 (click here). [*All]