Following a number of weeks of discussions with President Elect Obama and his aides, House Democrats introduced their stimulus bill, The American Recovery and Investment Bill of 2009, which is large and broad based. The bill totals $825BN, which is comprised of $550BN in spending and $275BN in tax cuts.
The key components of the bill are as follows:
(1) $90 billion for national infrastructure investments
(2) $140 billion allocated to states to primarily spend on education improvements
(3) $66 billion in benefits for the unemployed, which is a combination of COBRA extension and general benefits extension
(4) $20 billion to provide nutrition assistance to low income families
(5) Tax cuts that would comprise of $500 per individual and families of up to $1,000 through a cut in payroll taxes
Interestingly, which we totally applaud, the bill is being framed with a component of accountability and transparency with the creation of seven member accountability board (comprised of the Inspector General and Deputy Cabinet secretaries) and a public website that will show how all the funds are awarded and spent.
Initial comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggests that they believe the bill will be passed by early February. Although House Republicans responded immediately calling the plan “disappointing”. Specifically, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “The plan was developed with no Republican input and appears to be grounded in the flawed notion that we can simply borrow and spend our way back to prosperity.”
The Republican response isn’t surprising given the politicized nature of Washington. Interestingly, we are picking up in the blogosphere that President Elect Obama may have the river card in the way of one John McCain, who we are hearing may come out loudly supporting the plan in order to push it through congress.
Daryl G. Jones