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Senate passes $787 billion stimulus bill, on to Obama


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#1 Kevin Greene

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 03:47 AM

10:48 p.m. ET: The Senate just passed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill supported by President Obama and his Democratic colleagues, by a 60-38 nearly party-line vote that took about five hours to complete.
Now that both chambers of Congress have approved the legislation, it goes on to the White House for President Obama's signature. Watch for a signing ceremony early next week, if not sooner.
...
Here's what is happening, USA TODAY Congressional editor Eugene Kiely and reporter John Fritze tell us:
• To get the bill through, under the Senate's rules, 60 "aye" votes will be needed.
• There are currently 56 Democratic senators and two independents who caucus with the Democrats and support the package. That adds up to 58 "aye" votes.
• Three Republicans who helped shape the final version of the bill will also vote "aye." They are Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. That would bring the total to 61.


http://content.usato...9/02/62833297/1

#2 Kevin Greene

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 03:56 AM

Here is a look at how the $787 billion stacks up.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
The Bill Smiles on Power Programs
Programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are big winners in the stimulus package, receiving more than $45 billion in new spending and tax breaks.
Included is more than $13 billion to make federal buildings and public housing more efficient and to weatherize as many as one million homes. The bill also provides more than $10 billion to modernize the electricity grid and install “smart” meters in homes and as much as $20 billion in tax incentives for wind, solar, hydro and other renewable power sources. Proponents say these provisions will create as many as 500,000 jobs.
The bill provides tax credits of up to $7,500 to buyers of new plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Also included is $18 billion for environmental projects, like clean water systems, flood control and pollution cleanup work. Congressional officials said these could create more than 375,000 jobs.
The bill provides about $2 billion to research a system to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants, potentially reviving a demonstration program in Illinois that was killed by the Bush administration.
House-Senate conferees eliminated a provision, pushed by Senator Robert F. Bennett, Republican of Utah, to provide as much as $50 billion in loan guarantees to build new nuclear power plants. The Energy Department gets $6 billion to clean up sites where it develops nuclear weapons. JOHN M. BRODER
SCIENCE
Research and Development Aid Restored
After being traumatized when Congress suddenly slashed research budgets for science agencies last year, scientists were pleasantly surprised to find that they did not lose out again in the last round of negotiations on the stimulus plan.
The plan largely restores research and development money for the basic sciences in the House version of the bill, while keeping $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health, championed by Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, a cancer survivor and one of three Republican votes for the plan.
The bill includes $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $1 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and $1.6 billion for the Energy Department’s Office of Science.
The science foundation money includes $100 million for laboratory equipment at universities and $400 million for speeding construction of projects like a neutrino detector in Antarctica, a radio telescope in Chile and advanced gravity wave detectors in Louisiana and Washington State.
“The Senate backed down,” said Michael S. Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society, who had been dismayed at the extent of cuts proposed last week in the Senate. Even though the final Senate bill was less severe, Dr. Lubell was happy that the House’s science priorities prevailed.
“All the science accounts look wonderful,” he said. KENNETH CHANG
SAFETY NET
For the Needy, a Variety of Help
The safety-net provisions of the stimulus bill mingle two aims: to jump-start the economy and to protect the most vulnerable people as hardships intensify. Supporters say the missions coincide, since poor people are quick to spend. Opponents see a backdoor expansion of welfare.
The package provides an extra $20 billion for food stamps over several years. For the average family of three, that means a 19 percent increase this year, or an extra $63 a month.
The measure also adds $25 a week to every unemployment check, and continues extended benefits for the long-term unemployed through 2009, at a combined cost of $9 billion.
In addition, $14 billion will be spent on one-time payments of $250 each to recipients of Social Security, veterans’ benefits and Supplemental Security Income.
By quickly getting cash to people likely to spend it, all those moves meet classic definitions of stimulative spending.
Other efforts will move at a slower pace. Expansion of the earned-income and child tax credits will distribute an extra $20 billion to low-income workers, but not until next year.
The bill also provides up to $7 billion to encourage states to cover more workers with unemployment insurance, but that too will take time.
An additional $4 billion is set for job training programs, $2.1 billion to expand Head Start and $2 billion in child care subsidies.

#3 Kevin Greene

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 03:59 AM

EDUCATION
Schools Get Large Infusion of Money
President Obama promised to increase education greatly, and the stimulus bill does that, providing about $100 billion in emergency money over two years for public schools, universities and child care centers.
More than half comes in a $54 billion fiscal stabilization fund for states, which are grappling with $132 billion in budget shortfalls. Governors are to channel most of that money to school districts and colleges, to avert teacher layoffs. They may also use some of it to modernize school buildings.
The repair money became contentious because it put Washington in the business of fixing schools, traditionally a state and local responsibility. Republicans insisted that the money for school buildings be included in the stabilization fund, and not as a separate line item, to underline that it was a one-time expenditure.
The bill includes $5 billion in “state incentive grants” that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is to use to leverage policy changes. To get the money, governors must provide “assurances” that their states are making progress toward school improvement goals like assigning experienced teachers fairly, so unqualified instructors are not disproportionately deployed to teach poor children. The bill increases the Pell Grant by $500, to a maximum of $5,350 for this fall, and offers a tuition tax credit of up to $2,500. The credit is refundable, so even people who pay no income tax can get 40 percent of the $2,500 in a Treasury check.
The bill also provides about $4 billion in new money for Head Start, Early Head Start and other pre-kindergarten programs. SAM DILLON
HEALTH
More Money for Medicaid and the Jobless
The final bill provides a huge infusion of federal money to the states for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people. Without the money — $87 billion — states say they would probably cut the program, so that many people would lose coverage at a time when the need is growing.
President Obama won a partial victory in his effort to secure health insurance for workers who lose coverage when they lose their jobs.
The bill offers financial help to many of the unemployed.
Jobless workers can temporarily keep group health benefits under the 1986 Cobra law, but the cost is often prohibitive because they must pay the entire premium, including the employer’s share. Under the stimulus bill, the federal government would offer premium subsidies, paying 65 percent of the cost for up to nine months.
The aid would be available to workers who lose their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009. To qualify, workers must certify that their income will not exceed $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families.
Negotiators dropped a significant provision of the House bill that would have given states a new option to provide Medicaid for the unemployed, with the entire cost borne by the federal government.
The measure provides more than $19 billion to digitize medical records and link up doctors and hospitals with information technology. It includes new safeguards to protect the privacy of medical records, generally forbidding health care providers to sell individually identifiable health information without permission from the patient. ROBERT PEAR
TAXES
Cuts for Individuals and Businesses
Roughly $282 billion of the stimulus package, or about 35 percent, is made up of tax cuts for individuals and businesses, including tax breaks for buyers of homes and cars.
The centerpiece is President Obama’s “Making Work Pay” income tax credit of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples in 2009 and 2010. The money will mostly be distributed through reduced paycheck tax withholdings, adding $8 or so a week that officials hope will be spent not saved. Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples up to $150,000 will qualify for a full credit.
The bill also spares millions of middle-income Americans from the alternative minimum tax in 2009, raising the exemption to $46,700 for individuals and $70,950 for couples.
First-time homebuyers will be able to claim a tax credit of up to $8,000, for purchases made by Dec. 1, 2009.
Individuals earning up to $125,000 and couples up to $250,000 will be able to deduct the sales tax paid on a new car costing up to $49,500. And the bill creates a new $2,500 higher education tax credit, partly refundable for tax-filers who do not pay that much in taxes.
The stimulus package includes an array of business tax breaks, including accelerated depreciation, by 50 percent, of capital assets like new machinery placed in service in 2009.
But a provision that would have allowed businesses to claim tax credits by applying current-year losses to profits earned in the past five years was scaled back so that only businesses with $15 million or less in gross receipts are eligible for it. DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
INFRASTRUCTURE
A Victory, and a Setback, for Obama
By one measure, the public- works spending in the stimulus package exceeds the promises President Obama made as a candidate. But by another, it falls short.
The agreement calls for spending $120 billion on infrastructure, almost double the $60 billion Mr. Obama promised during the campaign. But it does not create the national infrastructure bank he had called for to set national priorities and get big projects done.
As a result, much of the money for roads will be distributed under existing formulas that give some to each state regardless of its needs or the merits of its projects.
While most spending was scaled back in the agreement, one area saw a huge increase: money for high-speed rail was quadrupled, to $8 billion. High-speed rail is popular with several moderate Republicans being courted to support the stimulus package.
The money would, however, be a only small down payment. California estimates it will cost $45 billion to build its high-speed line, and 10 other areas want to build one, too.
If transit advocates were excited by the rail money, they were disappointed that only $8.4 billion was included for mass transit, two-thirds of what the House had sought. Highways and bridges will get the biggest share, $29 billion, which officials estimate will create 835,000 jobs. At least half the money would have to be obligated by the states within 120 days.
The bill also contains $11 billion to modernize the electric grid, more than $6 billion for water projects, $6.5 billion to repair and build military housing and facilities, $4.5 billion to make federal buildings energy efficient, $4 billion to repair public housing and $7 billion to expand broadband access.
The repair money became contentious because it put Washington in the business of fixing schools, traditionally a state and local responsibility. Republicans insisted that the money for school buildings be included in the stabilization fund, and not as a separate line item, to underline that it was a one-time expenditure.
The bill includes $5 billion in “state incentive grants” that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is to use to leverage policy changes. To get the money, governors must provide “assurances” that their states are making progress toward school improvement goals like assigning experienced teachers fairly, so unqualified instructors are not disproportionately deployed to teach poor children. The bill increases the Pell Grant by $500, to a maximum of $5,350 for this fall, and offers a tuition tax credit of up to $2,500. The credit is refundable, so even people who pay no income tax can get 40 percent of the $2,500 in a Treasury check.
The bill also provides about $4 billion in new money for Head Start, Early Head Start and other pre-kindergarten programs. SAM DILLON

#4 Kevin Greene

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 04:00 AM

HEALTH
More Money for Medicaid and the Jobless
The final bill provides a huge infusion of federal money to the states for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people. Without the money — $87 billion — states say they would probably cut the program, so that many people would lose coverage at a time when the need is growing.
President Obama won a partial victory in his effort to secure health insurance for workers who lose coverage when they lose their jobs.
The bill offers financial help to many of the unemployed.
Jobless workers can temporarily keep group health benefits under the 1986 Cobra law, but the cost is often prohibitive because they must pay the entire premium, including the employer’s share. Under the stimulus bill, the federal government would offer premium subsidies, paying 65 percent of the cost for up to nine months.
The aid would be available to workers who lose their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009. To qualify, workers must certify that their income will not exceed $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families.
Negotiators dropped a significant provision of the House bill that would have given states a new option to provide Medicaid for the unemployed, with the entire cost borne by the federal government.
The measure provides more than $19 billion to digitize medical records and link up doctors and hospitals with information technology. It includes new safeguards to protect the privacy of medical records, generally forbidding health care providers to sell individually identifiable health information without permission from the patient. ROBERT PEAR
TAXES
Cuts for Individuals and Businesses
Roughly $282 billion of the stimulus package, or about 35 percent, is made up of tax cuts for individuals and businesses, including tax breaks for buyers of homes and cars.
The centerpiece is President Obama’s “Making Work Pay” income tax credit of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples in 2009 and 2010. The money will mostly be distributed through reduced paycheck tax withholdings, adding $8 or so a week that officials hope will be spent not saved. Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples up to $150,000 will qualify for a full credit.
The bill also spares millions of middle-income Americans from the alternative minimum tax in 2009, raising the exemption to $46,700 for individuals and $70,950 for couples.
First-time homebuyers will be able to claim a tax credit of up to $8,000, for purchases made by Dec. 1, 2009.
Individuals earning up to $125,000 and couples up to $250,000 will be able to deduct the sales tax paid on a new car costing up to $49,500. And the bill creates a new $2,500 higher education tax credit, partly refundable for tax-filers who do not pay that much in taxes.
The stimulus package includes an array of business tax breaks, including accelerated depreciation, by 50 percent, of capital assets like new machinery placed in service in 2009.
But a provision that would have allowed businesses to claim tax credits by applying current-year losses to profits earned in the past five years was scaled back so that only businesses with $15 million or less in gross receipts are eligible for it. DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
INFRASTRUCTURE
A Victory, and a Setback, for Obama
By one measure, the public- works spending in the stimulus package exceeds the promises President Obama made as a candidate. But by another, it falls short.
The agreement calls for spending $120 billion on infrastructure, almost double the $60 billion Mr. Obama promised during the campaign. But it does not create the national infrastructure bank he had called for to set national priorities and get big projects done.
As a result, much of the money for roads will be distributed under existing formulas that give some to each state regardless of its needs or the merits of its projects.
While most spending was scaled back in the agreement, one area saw a huge increase: money for high-speed rail was quadrupled, to $8 billion. High-speed rail is popular with several moderate Republicans being courted to support the stimulus package.
The money would, however, be a only small down payment. California estimates it will cost $45 billion to build its high-speed line, and 10 other areas want to build one, too.
If transit advocates were excited by the rail money, they were disappointed that only $8.4 billion was included for mass transit, two-thirds of what the House had sought. Highways and bridges will get the biggest share, $29 billion, which officials estimate will create 835,000 jobs. At least half the money would have to be obligated by the states within 120 days.
The bill also contains $11 billion to modernize the electric grid, more than $6 billion for water projects, $6.5 billion to repair and build military housing and facilities, $4.5 billion to make federal buildings energy efficient, $4 billion to repair public housing and $7 billion to expand broadband access.

http://www.nytimes.c...ntro.ready.html

#5 tarheelpride

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 02:51 PM

i heard from my roommate that the actual spending won't occur until 2011...

#6 TerriblePizza

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 03:20 PM

Thats good to hear about schools. Maybe I'll actually be able to get a job when I return to the states this summer.

#7 Panthers_Lover

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:20 AM

So, what was the rush?

After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway.

Obama arrived at his home in Chicago on Friday, and treated wife Michelle to a Valentine's Day dinner downtown last night. The couple was spotted leaving upscale Table Fifty-Two, which specializes in Southern cuisine, with the first lady toting what appeared to be a doggie bag.

The president plans to spend the Presidents' Day weekend in the Windy City, and is not expected to sign the bill until Tuesday, when he travels to Denver to discuss his economic plan.

Both the House and Senate passed the bill Friday night.

The push to get the bill through before the holiday weekend was so frantic, members of Congress didn't have a chance to read all 1,071 pages of the document before they could vote.

"In a perfect world it would have been nice to have had more time to process it," said Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).



#8 cookinwithgas

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:25 AM

He needed to know it was passed so he could perform well sexually over the weekend for Michelle.

#9 Murph

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:36 AM

^ Images of fisting now enters the brain

*shudder*

#10 cookinwithgas

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:34 PM

http://www.cnn.com/2...lina/index.html

Panthers Lover, tell your state to get off of our dole. "Perpetually on Welfare" indeed.

#11 Matt Foley

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:42 PM

^ Images of fisting now enters the brain

*shudder*


Yeah, I hear Michelle treats him pretty rough.

#12 Panthers_Lover

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:48 PM

http://www.cnn.com/2...lina/index.html

Panthers Lover, tell your state to get off of our dole. "Perpetually on Welfare" indeed.


Actually, he has done that ... but had to back off when he got such grief over it. He stood his ground to make the point, but in the end, he knows that it's the people who will suffer. Why should the people of SC suffer when everyone else is getting their "share." Your dole, indeed ... last time I looked, we all pay into the federal system.

#13 cookinwithgas

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:59 PM

No, SC is getting more than their "share". They put in a dollar and get back 1.37.

Good to know that you acknowlege that people that get taken off of welfare can suffer, and that as long as they are from SC it's okay to keep them on the taxpayer dime.

http://petroleum.ber...ending_bene.htm

Wow, looks like just about all of the "tax and spend" "liberal" states are actually supporting the "lower my taxes NOW!" states when it comes to federal funding. How about that.

And let's see, which state wins the prize for most heavily subsidized? Why it's Ms. Palins!

Changing Ranks
The state that raised its ratio the most over the past ten years is Alaska where federal spending rose from $1.30 to $1.89 for each dollar in taxes. This 59-cent increase beats out Alabama, where federal spending increased 35¢ per dollar of tax, West Virginia (33¢ more spending per dollar), and Kentucky (32¢ more spending per dollar).


So, will your governor refuse all this money on moral grounds? Just think, he could show all us liberals up!

#14 Panthers_Lover

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:24 PM

No, SC is getting more than their "share". They put in a dollar and get back 1.37.

Good to know that you acknowlege that people that get taken off of welfare can suffer, and that as long as they are from SC it's okay to keep them on the taxpayer dime.

http://petroleum.ber...ending_bene.htm

Wow, looks like just about all of the "tax and spend" "liberal" states are actually supporting the "lower my taxes NOW!" states when it comes to federal funding. How about that.

And let's see, which state wins the prize for most heavily subsidized? Why it's Ms. Palins!



So, will your governor refuse all this money on moral grounds? Just think, he could show all us liberals up!


He would, if it were just him .... btw, there's a provision in the stimulus bill written specifically because of Mark Sanford. It basically says that if the governor of state declines/refuses to take any of the money, the federal government need only go to the state legislature to get them to sign off on it ... it was done because of Sanford's refusal before to take the money. (His refusal also was about a dispute with the state unemployment folks in which he was/is demanding more accountability from their office.)

#15 Zod

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:32 PM

He would, if it were just him



lol



wow


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