Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Economic Stimulus Package

As some MOJ readers may know, "Network" is a Catholic social justice lobby, in Washington, DC.  Network is staffed mainly by Catholic sisters.  I thought that MOJ readers would be interested in this message:

NETWORK logo Legislative Update - February 14, 2009

Special Valentine/Presidents Day Edition

 Your Senators and Representatives will be at home in the state and districts February 14-22. This is a great time to call on local offices, find out where they will be during the week, check for Town Hall Meetings - and go to talk with them. You can find contact information for local offices through our web site at http://capwiz.com/networklobby/dbq/officials/
On Friday February 13 the House and Senate voted to pass the final conference version of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R.1 -- also known as the "economic stimulus package." The House vote was 246-183. Sadly, not one House Republican was able to resist party pressure and support the common good. The Senate vote was 60-38. (60 votes were needed to pass the bill.) All Democratic senators voted for the bill, except Senator Kennedy, who was unable to return to Washington. Three Republican senators voted for the bill: Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine.
Although this bill, as any compromise bill, is far from perfect, it will help to provide approximately 3 million jobs.  As unemployment has continued to escalate over recent months, this is a tremendous step toward keeping more families from destitution. In addition to creating jobs, the legislation also improves safety net programs to support those who are already suffering the greatest losses.
In the past few weeks, we asked you to advocate for many provisions in the Recovery/Stimulus bill. The information below shows you what we supported and achieved, and what we opposed and kept out of the bill.
We hope that as you contact your members of Congress you will use this information to support or challenge them on their vote.  To find out how your representative and senators voted, go to http://capwiz.com/networklobby/keyvotes.xc/?lvl=C . You can enter your zip code or click on the final conference report vote for H.R.1.
Supported and achieved

Job creation
Job creation is a part of each provision included.
Head start and early head start
$  2.1 billion - provides 50,000 additional jobs for teachers and staff
Job training for all skill levels
$  3.95 billion under Workforce Investment Act
$    .25 billion for Job Corps
Unemployment Insurance
$27 billion for extension and increase in benefits
 "Greening" of our nation
$ 11 billion - Smart Electric Grid
$  2.3 billion for energy-efficient renovations of HUD units
$  5 billion for Weatherization Assistance Program
$    .5 billion for energy efficiency upgrades for Native American housing programs
$    .1 billion for lead-based paint removal
$ 20 billion energy tax credits
$  9.3 billion for mass transit
$  1.6 billion for Amtrak intercity rail services - emphasis on high-speed
Safety net programs
$  4 billion for HUD Capital Fund
$  2.3 billion for the HOME Program
$  1.5 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program
$  1.5 billion for emergency homeless shelter grants
$20 billion increase in food stamps (SNAP) and lifting time limit on receipt of assistance
Child Tax Credit - partial success
$14.8 billion
Maximum credit raised to $1000 per child.  At income above $75,000 ($150,000 per couple) phase out of $50 per $1000 of income.
The bad news:  Those with the least income receive the least benefit from the CTC. The floor to receive a credit is $3000 and the benefit is 15% of income. Therefore, earning $3000, the benefit would be $450 and earning $60,000, the benefit would be $9000.
Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP)
$86.6 billion in additional federal matching payments for state programs
$84 million to create a Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board to coordinate oversight of federal spending
"Flash Reports" to Congress
Quarterly Reports to Congress and Administration
Reports posted on website: Recovery.gov
The bad news: protection for whistle-blowers on federal projects was removed from the bill, although retained for state and local level whistle-blowers.
Opposed and kept out of the Recovery bill
  • E-Verify Program - would have required all contracting employers to use the Internet-based program to verify the employment eligibility of their hires. This was removed from the bill.
  • $ 1 billion for Nuclear Weapons-related activities was removed from the bill.
2456 messages on Economic Recovery/Stimulus were sent via NETWORK's Legislative Action Center in January and February 2009. Thank you -- your messages made a difference!


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