Rep. Napolitano Votes for Stimulus Package, Investment in Water Infrastructure
Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) voted to approve HR 7110, the Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act of 2008, a $60.8 billion economic stimulus package that makes important investments in our nation's water infrastructure, including $126 million for critical water recycling projects to help California and other Western states that have been severely affected by drought. The funds will be administered through the Bureau of Reclamation's water reclamation and recycling program, known as Title XVI, to assist communities in securing their long term water supply.
The legislation passed by a vote 264-158 on September 26, 2008.
"The current drought situation makes this investment more important than ever," said Rep. Napolitano. "Repairing and expanding our water infrastructure is vital to our economy. This legislation will create jobs in the short term and make our water supply more secure by helping address the long term issues of drought and global climate change. It also assists the Bureau of Reclamation to address an backlog of almost $500 million in congressionally authorized projects."
As Chair of the House Water and Power Subcommittee and a Co-Chair of the Congressional Water Caucus, Rep. Napolitano has been a leader on water conservation and recycling. She contacted Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-CA) of the House Appropriations Committee this summer to explain the importance of investing in our nation's water infrastructure.
Rep. Napolitano thanked Chairman Obey and Rep. Lewis for helping make sure that these critical funds were included in the legislation.
"The new, Democratic Congress is taking water issues very seriously," Rep. Napolitano added. "By investing in recycling, we can reduce Southern California's dependence on the Bay Delta and move towards true water security."
The bill also invests renewable energy and energy efficiency, affordable housing, our highways and public transportation.
The legislation will now go to the Senate for consideration.
HR 7110: The Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act of 2008
Job Training: $500 million to help Americans find and prepare for good jobs including $400 million is for dislocated worker and youth employment activities and $100 million to provide customized help to folks receiving unemployment benefits. Unemployment claims have increased by over 38% this year and 36% exhaust their benefits before finding work.
Extension of Unemployment Benefits: Provides an additional 7 weeks of extended benefits for workers who have exhausted regular unemployment compensation (20 total weeks). Workers in high unemployment states are eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits (33 total weeks). Extending unemployment benefits is one of the quickest, most cost-effective forms of economic stimulus because workers who have lost their paychecks spend benefits quickly.
Medicaid Assistance: Provides a temporary increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid health costs, with increases from one to four percent, at a time of increasing enrollment. These funds will prevent cuts to health insurance and health care services for low-income children and families, as well as generate business activities, jobs, wages and State sales tax revenues that States would otherwise not see.
Transit: $3.6 billion to purchase buses and equipment needed to expand public transportation and to make improvements to facilities and $1 billion to meet growing demand for public transportation due to higher gas prices while reducing American gasoline consumption. Rising fuel costs have some transit agencies facing service reductions or fare increases.
Public Housing: $1 billion for repair and construction projects, including critical safety repairs. Every dollar of Capital Fund expenditures produces $2.12 in economic return.
Highway Infrastructure: $12.8 billion, for our nation's aging highways and bridges, to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion.
Corps of Engineers: $5 billion to invest in the nation's water resource infrastructure with improved flood protection, navigation and hydropower and to increase the efficiency of existing water infrastructure.
Fixing Crumbling Schools: $3 billion to repair crumbling schools, provide students with first class technology, and to improve energy efficiency. One-third of public school buildings need extensive repair or total replacement and two-thirds have environmental problems unhealthy for children.
Clean Water: $7.5 billion for drinking water and sewer projects including $6.5 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to repair, rehabilitate and expand water systems, many of which are over 50 years old and $300 million for Bureau of Reclamation water projects, including $98 million to provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural areas and $126 million to ensure adequate water supply to western localities impacted by drought.
Airport Improvement Grants: $600 million, for projects to improve safety and reduce delays at our nation's airports.
AMTRAK: $500 million,to make necessary upgrades to tracks and stations so that Amtrak can meet growing demand due to high gas prices. This year ridership has increased by 8 percent on the Northeast Corridor and 13 percent on other corridor routes.
Advanced Battery Technology Loans: $1 billion to support $3.3 billion in loans to encourage the manufacture of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems - a key component to fuel efficient cars - in the United States.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: $500 million to accelerate the development of technologies that will contribute to a reliable, domestic energy supply.
Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability: $100 million to modernize the electric grid, make energy infrastructure more secure and reliable, and speed recovery from disruptions to the energy supply.
Food Assistance: $2.6 billion to address rising food costs for seniors, people with disabilities and very poor families with children. This year, an average of 27.8 million individuals, and 12.5 million households, received food stamps.