Congressman Phil Hare today voted in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bill passed by a vote of 246 to 183 and now heads to the Senate for final approval.
"The current economic crisis is the worst I've seen in my lifetime," Hare said. "Working families are struggling to hold onto their jobs, homes, health care, and pensions. This economic recovery package is not perfect, but it is necessary."
This economic recovery package is estimated to create or save 3.5 million jobs, including 7,000 in the 17th District of Illinois. It includes a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans. It invests $68 billion directly into infrastructure, including $8 billion for high speed and intercity passenger rail, a top priority of Hare's. "For every dollar we invest in infrastructure, we get five dollars back in economic boom," Hare said. "While I wish this legislation included even more funding for our roads, bridges, mass transit, and clean water projects, this is an excellent start."
This legislation provides immediate relief to Illinois students by creating a $2 billion state stabilization fund to stave off teacher layoffs and create new jobs by repairing, renovating and modernizing schools. It expands broadband Internet access in rural communities, increases funding for alternative energy and college tuition, and invests in healthcare IT to lower costs and save lives. I
The package also provides assistance to those hardest hit in the current recession by extending unemployment insurance, increasing food stamps and Medicaid, and bolstering Social Security for low-income seniors.
Finally, the bill includes a provision similar to Hare's Stop Taxpayer-Offensive Practices (STOP) Act, legislation he introduced this week to reign in excessive spending by financial institutions that receive taxpayer money through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). "The American people are looking to the federal government to help get our economy back on track, not use their hard earned money to line the pockets of big corporations," Hare said. "I am pleased that a provision putting limits on corporate excess was included in this bill."