One year after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly called the "stimulus," our efforts to create jobs and rebuild the economy are working. Independent analysis shows Recovery Act has saved and sustained more than 2 million jobs, cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, offered tax cuts and loans to millions of small businesses, extended unemployment and COBRA health benefits for those looking for work, and started to lay a new foundation for our economy with key investments in high speed rail, clean and efficient energy, high-speed broadband and wireless communications, and electronic medical records.
Eight years of mismanagement, lack of oversight, failure to invest in American competitiveness, by President Bush and Congressional Republicans led to the worst recession since the Great Depression.
"This time last year, our economy was losing more than 700,000 jobs a month, cutting into Americans' retirement savings, freezing lending to small businesses, and hurting families working to make ends meet," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "Since the passage of the American Recovery Act, we've been able to save and create more than two million jobs in the first year of a two-year effort and bring our economy back from the brink. We still have a long way to go to put more Americans back to work, but we're clearly moving in the right direction."
In Florida, the Recovery Act has helped to create and sustain more than 112,000 jobs. The Recovery Act was a combination of tax cuts, job-creating projects, and aid to state and local governments to keep teachers, firefighters, and police officers on the job. It has already provided nearly $120 billion in tax relief for American families and businesses, including the Making Work Pay Tax Credit for 260,000 middle-class families here in the 20th District of Florida and the first-time homebuyers tax credit used by 132,700 households here in Florida. It has also supported nearly $20 billion in loans to more than 42,000 small businesses across the nation and provided $250 recovery payments to seniors and disabled veterans here in Florida.
To create construction jobs, the legislation has provided funding for 12,500 transportation projects across the country -- 8,500 of which are already underway, creating 7,100,000 jobs here in Florida and supported more than 2,850 construction projects at more than 350 military facilities. It continues to help create hundreds of thousands of jobs in innovative technology sectors, with $8 billion to start building a high-speed rail network, $7 billion to expand broadband internet across the country, $3.4 billion for smart grid technology, and $2.4 billion to develop clean, advanced vehicle technology.
Economists on both side of the aisle credit the Recovery Act with slowing job losses and keeping the economy from heading into a second Great Depression. And while partisan opponents of this legislation criticize it on TV and inside the Beltway, they attend ribbon cuttings back in their districts -- taking credit for Recovery Act projects and the jobs they create.
"Our economy is growing at the fastest rate in six years, monthly job losses are 97% smaller than when President Bush left office, and we've seen millions of jobs created and saved in both the private and public sector," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "But while our country is heading in the right direction, there are still too many Floridians are still out of work and too many of our families are struggling to make ends meet. That's why job creation remains my number one priority and I will continue to do everything possible to make sure that we rebuild our economy in a way that works for the middle class."
The House has already passed the Jobs for Main Street Act to launch more job-creating projects, help small business hire workers, increase emergency aid for families struggling without a steady paycheck, and put Americans back to work.