Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, said the measure "won't create many jobs, but it will create plenty of programs and projects through slow-moving government spending."
The legislation includes an estimated $544 in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Included is money for traditional job-creating programs such as highway construction and mass transit projects.
But the measure tickets far more for unemployment benefits, health care and food stamp increases designed to aid victims of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Tens of billions of additional dollars would go to the states, which confront the prospect of deep budget cuts of their own. That money marks an attempt to ease the recession's impact on schools and law enforcement.
A mere eight days after Inauguration Day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi heralded a new era. Moving with remarkable speed, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved $819 billion in spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of President Barack Obama's economic recovery program.
The first step on the journey to hell has been taken by the Democrats. The bill is H.R. 1.
The House floor debate was partisan, with Republicans expressing doubts the plan would boost the economy and complaining they had little chance to affect its provisions.
The measure “is less about creating jobs and stimulating the economy and more about spending the public’s money,” said the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Jerry Lewis. “Do not, for one minute, believe that this bill reflects the input of House Republicans.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that the Democrats’ plan will pump about $526 billion, slightly less than two-thirds of the package, into the economy by the end of 2010. The agency estimated the plan would total $816 billion, including $212 billion in tax cuts. Democrats said their plan would cost $825 billion, including $275 billion in tax cuts.
The bill would expand tax credits for the working poor, make more families eligible for a child tax credit and expand college tuition subsidies. It would let businesses convert losses into tax refunds and provide faster write-offs for purchasing equipment.
The plan would provide money for initiatives including $40 billion to extend health-care coverage to the jobless, $20 billion for school repairs, $30 billion for highway infrastructure projects, $20 billion for food stamps, $18 billion for Pell college tuition grants and $18.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
Republicans complained the plan included items unrelated to boosting the economy, including $1 billion for the 2010 census and $400 million to study global warming.
Other provisions would require that the iron and steel used in construction projects funded by the bill be produced in the U.S. unless the material proved unavailable or prohibitively expensive. The measure increases limits on unsubsidized Stafford college loans by $2,000.
680 Pages of Pork
Yes we can, POLITICS as usual.