Last night Rep. Eric Massa took a critical vote to make targeted investments in highways and transit, school renovation, hiring teachers, police and firefighters, small business, job training and affordable housing to further improve our economy. This bill also includes emergency relief and extends unemployment benefits to those Americans who have suffered the most during this recession. The bill passed by a final vote of 217 to 212.
AND it is paid for ENTIRELY by redirecting excess bank bailout TARP funds which were authorized in the previous Congress.
"I have opposed the banking bailout since its inception and I think redirecting these funds to create jobs and help those that have been most deeply impacted by this recession is a good plan," said Rep. Eric Massa. "This program will take bailout money from Wall Street and put it directly on Main Street. I'm proud to have helped pass this bill to improve our economy, help the families in my district, and create jobs. Additionally, I'm proud that we could pass this program without adding a single penny to the deficit by taking funding away from the TARP program that I opposed."
Investments for Jobs on Main Street
This measure will create or save jobs here at home with targeted investments ($75 billion) for highways and transit, school renovation, hiring teachers, police, and firefighters, small business, job training and affordable housing -- key drivers of economic growth that have the most bang for the buck. These investments are fully paid for by redirecting TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street.
Highways, Transit and Other Infrastructure ($48 Billion)
The bill invests $48 billion to help put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing public buildings, and cleaning our air and water, including:
* Highways & Transit-- Invests more than $35 billion in highways and mass transit. Every $1 billion of federal investments in highways creates an estimated 27,800 jobs without the state match.
* School Renovation -- Spurs billions in immediate investment in school construction, rehabilitation and repair.
* Clean Water and Housing -- Provides $2 billion to help communities build facilities for clean and safe water and $2 billion to help communities build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable rental homes for very low-income households and for repairs and rehabilitation of public housing.
Hiring of Teachers, Police, Firefighters & Job Training ($27 Billion)
* Education--Includes $23 billion to help States save or create an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years with an Education Jobs Fund solely focused on paying salaries.
* Police & Firefighters -- Puts over 5,000 law enforcement officers on the beat and invests in hiring and retaining firefighters.
* Training -- Invests about $2 billion for other hiring and training programs, that will support 25,000 more Americorps volunteers and 250,000 youth summer jobs; expand college work study jobs for 250,000 students; and support job training for 150,000 people in high growth industries, such as health care and clean energy jobs, at community colleges.
The package extends several Recovery Act initiatives to help America's small businesses create jobs:
* eliminating fees on Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to make them more affordable for small businesses, and
* encouraging banks to lend to small businesses by raising to 90 percent (from 85 percent) the portion of a loan that the Small Business Administration will guarantee.
Small business provisions in the Recovery Act have already supported tens of thousands of loans, helping to save or create thousands of jobs -- totaling $9 billion in new small business lending since the Recovery Act's passage.
Emergency Relief to Families Hit by the Recession
For those hardest hit by the Recession, the bill includes emergency relief ($79 billion) -- extending unemployment benefits and help with health benefits for those out of work. Not only does this help those families in need, but these provisions generate demand for goods and services in the economy as a whole.
* Unemployment Benefits -- Extends emergency unemployment benefits through June of 2010. The program expires at the end of the year and without an extension, roughly one million Americans will lose their emergency benefits in January 2010.
* Help with Health Insurance for Unemployed Workers (COBRA) -- Extends through June 30, 2010 a key provision to strengthen COBRA to help maintain health coverage during this downturn. (It makes these benefits available for people who were involuntarily separated from their jobs through June 30, 2010 and extends the months of help from 9 months to 15 months.) About 7 million people benefited from this provision in the Recovery Act and hundreds of thousands who got this subsidy when it was first made available in March are currently slated to roll off the program.
* Protecting Health Care Coverage for Millions through Medicaid (FMAP) -- Extends the provisions in the Recovery Act that provide the states with additional federal matching funds for Medicaid for six months -- from December 31, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
* Child Tax Credit -- Cuts taxes for the families of 16 million children, by making the Child Tax Credit available to all low-income working families with children in 2010. (Under the Recovery Act, families must earn at least $3,000 in order to begin to take advantage of the $1,000 Child Tax Credit.)