Working with a sense of urgency to create jobs and stimulate the flagging economy, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today joined a majority in the House of Representatives to approve the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The legislation was approved by a vote of 246-183.
"This package was all about putting people back to work and protecting jobs. I'm proud to say the bill we passed today will create or save 3.5 million jobs throughout America, 100,000 jobs in New Jersey and 7,200 jobs in my Congressional district," stated Pascrell.
Pascrell, a member of the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee was resolute on the need to counteract the Bush economic policies that gave huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans contributing to the deficits we face today.
"This is a balanced package with both targeted spending to stimulate our stagnant economy and $280 billion in tax relief targeted directly to the American people. The fact is that this package will immediately cut taxes for 95% percent of workers, marking the most significant expansion of middle-class tax cuts in American history."
The package also included more than $1.6 billion to stimulate automobile sales, a priority that Pascrell advocated. The provision would provide all taxpayers with a deduction for State and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of a new car, light truck, recreational vehicle, or motorcycles through 2009. Pascrell along with his Senate colleague Barbara Mikulski authored and introduced the Auto Ownership Tax Assistance Act in response to the staggering decline in auto sales that make up twenty percent of the retail economy alone.
"I believe this tax deduction will help increase traffic at our struggling auto dealerships and entice consumers to pull the trigger on making that new car purchase. The auto industry accounts for 20 percent of the retail economy and over a million decent paying jobs all around the country. New car dealerships are important to our communities. Assisting them in moving their product is a golden opportunity to begin turning this economy around."
Pascrell, a former member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was one of the strongest advocates in the House for robust infrastructure spending in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The final bill provided for more than $26.6 billion in highway infrastructure investment including more than $651 million for New Jersey. $8.4 billion was provided for transit projects including more than $524 million for New Jersey.
"This level of robust funding for transit and highways is long-overdue," stated Pascrell. "Transit investment is a recession buster. It puts people to work on roadways, railways and in factories throughout New Jersey. Most importantly for the future of our state's economy, we hope to use this funding to improve the busiest rail corridor in America by providing for new transportation alternatives like the ARC tunnel project."
Pascrell also struck back against his Republican colleagues who refused to support an economic stimulus package desperately needed by the American people.
"I believe in bipartisanship and recognize a number of individual provisions in this package that won strong Republican support," stated Pascrell. "What I don't believe in is going back to the doctrine of massive tax cuts for the wealthy. We had eight years of misguided tax cuts that gave us trillions of dollars in deficits without stimulating or even sustaining the economy. I'm disappointed that none of my Republican colleagues could see past their old dogmatic position to come together around a package that the American people need and support."
"This is not a perfect bill, but it is a very good bill that at the end of the day is balanced and comprehensive. I am proud of this package and pleased that it has support in the Senate and the White House. I am excited for the legislation to be enacted so that it can be put to work on behalf of the American people who so desperately want to be lifted out of this economic despair." concluded Pascrell.