Thursday, January 15, 2009

Summary of House $825 billion stimulus bill now available

Finally, after all the chatter and rumors, a summary of the big fiscal stimulus bill is available, at least the House version. Released by the House Appropriations Committee, the summary calls the bill the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, and it totals $825 billion in stimulus. The summary tells us that:

In the next two weeks, the Congress will be considering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. This package is the first crucial step in a concerted effort to create and save 3 to 4 million jobs, jumpstart our economy, and begin the process of transforming it for the 21st century with $275 billion in economic recovery tax cuts and $550 billion in thoughtful and carefully targeted priority investments with unprecedented accountability measures built in.

The package contains targeted efforts in:

  • Clean, Efficient, American Energy
  • Transforming our Economy with Science and Technology
  • Modernizing Roads, Bridges, Transit and Waterways
  • Education for the 21st Century
  • Tax Cuts to Make Work Pay and Create Jobs
  • Lowering Healthcare Costs
  • Helping Workers Hurt by the Economy
  • Saving Public Sector Jobs and Protect Vital Services

The summary does detail each of those areas at least to the bullet-point level, but trying to make sense of that level of budgetary detail is difficult unless you are a budget analyst.

I do appreciate the first phrase quoted above, "In the next two weeks, the Congress will be considering", which makes it sounds as if they are serious about trying to pass a bill by the end of the month. Or, maybe that is just for the House version and then there would be two weeks to recouncile the House and Senate bills and the will of the Obama team. We will see.

Note, this is not the actuall bill, but simply a summary of the main points. The summary provides something to talk about and feed into negotiations. It may get revised further before committee staff goes off to draft the actual bill.

It is unclear whether a core collection of Republican moderates are already onboard for the points contained in the summary, or whether this is their first viewing and maybe significant negotiations may be needed to finalize details sufficient for a bill that could pass the House and have a chance of being acceptable by moderate senators.

In any case, this is a good start and shows that great progress is being made.

-- Jack Krupansky

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