The post is an update to What is in the Economic Stimulus Bill of 2009?.
Tracking on Congress is like a sing along with 1 million people out of tune and out of sync. So, we'll do our best to give you the latest amendments, bill text and analysis.
The bill title is American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The bill number is H.R. 1 (this is a huge pdf).
The Senate is working on it's own version and that bill number is S.1.
Where to find the latest amendments? Currently the 206 amendments are here.
I use thomas.gov, which is the official Library of Congress. Be aware though, one really needs to either have your own personal lobbyist and/or watch the floor proceedings to know what the latest is.
One major problem with this database is often the links generated are temporary. To get a permanent link one needs to click on the GPO display. Case in point, is the congressional record of the supposed latest House amendments, yet they are not part of the amendments listed in the actual bill congressional record to date.
Here is the link to the Senate version.
I would like to point out one amendment:
Forbes (VA) #97
Would prohibit funds made available under the Act from being used to employ individuals who are not citizens of the United States.
where someone is realizing we are in an age of global labor arbitrage, thus tying U.S. taxpayer money to U.S. jobs just might be a very good idea.
Trade Reform has a list of the Buy American amendments.
Kissell (NC) #197
Would provide that funds appropriated are used to purchase iron, steel, and goods manufactured in the United States.
Kissel (NC) #198
Would expand the Berry Amendment Extension Act to include DHS to require the government to purchase uniforms for more than one hundred thousand uniformed employees from U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers.
Murphy, Tim (PA) #91
Would require funds made available through this legislation to be used to purchase goods manufactured in the United States.
Murphy, Tim (PA) #92
Would require that Health Information Technology purchased with funds made available by this Act be engineered and manufactured in the United States.
Stupak (MI) #98
Would direct Customs and Border Protection to carry out inspections of imported steel, drywall, and cement products, would test and evaluate such product against industry standards, would grant CBP the authority to prohibit entry of products that do not meet appropriate industry standards, and would authorize $10 million to carry out the above.
Now these amendments are under attack by corporate lobbyists.
Menzie is right about transitional changes in tax policy not being able to change consumption in this Barro-Ricardo model, which is why GOP calls for using tax cuts to stimulate demand are likely not going to be the most effective policy tool.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing has it's own study on the infrastructure investment part of the Stimulus and it's ability to create jobs:
The report, undertaken for AAM by a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), found that at least 2.6 million new jobs could be created by increased spending in a “high-end” scenario of $148 billion per year (including $93 billion in public investment). While the construction and service industries will see the vast majority of job creation, manufacturing, which has been devastated by the current economic crisis would also benefit from such an infrastructure stimulus, seeing an increase of 252,000 jobs nationally.
The benefits for manufacturing would be felt throughout the economy, with new jobs created in such industries as fabricated metals (38,000), concrete and cement (21,000), glass-rubber-plastics (15,000), steel (9,000), and wood products (8,200)
I think 252,000 jobs in manufacturing is simply not enough myself.
Someone has the ability to consider their own Congressional pay in this economic malaise by this amendment:
Mitchell (AZ) #61
Would prevent the automatic pay adjustment for Members of Congress from going into effect in 2010.
I have heard differing reports on DeFazio withdrawning his amendment but here is his increase in transit funding, still listed:
Nadler (NY)/DeFazio (OR)/Ellison (MN)/McMahon (NY)/Lipinski (IL) #70
Would increase transit capital funding by $3 billion.
CBO Cost Report
The CBO report is not good.
The budgetary impact of the bill stems primarily from three types of transactions: Direct payments to individuals (such as unemployment benefits), reductions in federal taxes, and purchases of goods and services (either by the federal government directly or indirectly via grants to states and local governments). CBO estimates that impacts from the first two categories of transactions would occur fairly rapidly. In the third category, CBO estimates slower rates of spending than historical full-year spending rates in 2009 for a number of reasons:
- The bill’s enactment would likely occur nearly half way through the fiscal year.
- Previous experience suggests that agencies have difficulty rapidly expanding existing programs while maintaining current services; the funding in H.R. 1 for some programs is substantially greater than the usual annual funding for those activities.
- Spending can be delayed by necessary lags for planning, soliciting bids, entering contracts, and conducting regulatory or environmental reviews.
- Agencies face additional challenges in spending funds for new programs quickly because of the time necessary to develop procedures and criteria, issue regulations, and review plans and proposals before money can be distributed.
Now here is something the CBO notes in the official report(pdf), that I am personally looking for, cost effectiveness.
CBO estimates that the payment incentives would increase spending for the Medicare and Medicaid programs by $31.0 billion over the 2009-2019 period. The expanded use of health IT would reduce on-budget direct spending for health benefits by the Medicare, Medicaid, and Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) programs by $12.4 billion over the same period. Enacting the health IT provision also would reduce off-budget spending for FEHB by $0.1 billion (most FEHB spending for retirees of the U.S. Postal Service is off-budget).
Note by automating and bringing to the modern era, just record keeping (IT provision) it saves the U.S. taxpayer a considerable chunk of change! In other words it reduces health care costs. That's a keeper!
Looking over other amendments which also look promising to get a full return on the money:
Gingrey (GA) #25
Would revise section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code to allow physicians to increase the deduction allowed under section 179 for the purchase of qualified health care information technology by health care professionals. The amendment increases the first year deduction of rapid depreciation for qualified equipment from $125,000 to $250,000. The amendment also increases the purchase maximum for qualifying equipment from $500,000 to $600,000 in any given year. It also allows physicians to include other medical equipment purchases in the same year they purchase an EMR system in the section 179 deduction.
Reducing the blizzard of bureaucracy, paperwork, anyone with any health bills whatsoever knows one gets snowed in with forms and letters. It's like something out of the film Brazil.
Just as an example of an unknown is this amendment to increase funds for advanced battery technologies:
Inslee (WA) #138
Would increase funds for advanced batteries by $1.5 billion for advanced battery technologies, with an additional $750 million for advanced battery direct loans from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and $500 million for energy storage activities from EISA.
Advanced battery R&D is a key critical technical innovation area. But my question is, who is getting this money and are they employing U.S. citizens, U.S. researchers, scientists, especially older workers? STEM occupational skills are easily adaptable to power research but I see nothing here to indicate this. Then, the ones who are advanced in battery R&D are Asian countries, like Japan.
So where are the conditions (and maybe I just do not understand something here) to ensure funding this research area will go to U.S. workers, U.S. corporations, U.S. states?
If you're going to fund U.S. innovation...which assuredly we can do and then some...uh, don't you have to make sure it is with Americans and in America?
Right now I would say scrap all tax cuts since they are truly determined to not generate jobs, which is the critical need right now.
Another critical issue is deployment and timing, as noted by the CBO. It's clear Congress must speed up mechanisms to actually employ U.S. citizens, Americans with these funds. Maybe a place to look is the WWII deployment effort on how to speed up job creation with public government spending.
Then, what bothers me the most is how Congress and the White House are trying to ram through this bill without enough detailed analysis from economists, experts as well as their own CBO and GAO.
If they need something fast, frankly they should break up the bill and only pass what is known at this point to work in generating jobs.
For example, on jobs training, often the money is a complete waste, trains for nothing or the workers actually have the skills already and simply need a job and possibly a couple of weeks of on the job training. Is this really cost efficient? How about instead give employers tax credits for providing on the job education and training? It's their job, their worker, so odds are they are going to know how to train to get precisely the skills they want. Also, once again these funds must be tied to U.S. citizens, perm residents, Americans.
Nothing is worst than shoving a huge piece of spending through Congress without understanding it's effects.
Congress has been doing that now for almost 20 years and isn't it time it stopped?