I have held off on posting more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ongoing negotiations in the Senate due to the minute by minute changes and even a question of it's passage.
As usual the talking heads on cable news only talk about victory and not the specifics or credible analysis.
Here are the latest congressional actions.
The new cost is $780 billion dollars....or $805 billion...or what's another few billion? About $110 billion stripped from the previous Senate version.
The Buy American provision has survived the bill but are slightly watered down to include language promising not to violate any existing trade agreements. Remember this provision only refers to Domestic goods, not using U.S. workers to make them.
Pell Grants are still in but school construction is out.
More let's go shopping tax incentives to take on more debt, including to buy a house and a car.
The Associated Press has a reasonably informative piece giving the current differences between the House and Senate versions.
One thing to note is how currently there is nothing to require projects use U.S. workers, citizens for jobs created. Whether to be believed or not but according to the Heritage Foundation the bill will create jobs for 300,000 illegal immigrants if e-verify is not put into the final bill.
If one examines almost any breakdown of the bill it becomes increasingly evident, fast job creation is sorely lacking.
For example, just by the rules of the DoD, they simply cannot deploy project funds quickly.
Perhaps this bill would not be so controversial if the administration and Congress did their homework and just focused in on public works projects that would immediately create jobs.
Instead of economic shock and awe we seem to be getting mush and muddle.
Perhaps a better strategy is to pass components, in stages and more assuredly better project specific analysis.
The New York Times has an article on Japan and it's stimulus package, the effects it had.
Right now it does not appear too many are going into these details to target spending effectively.
What I would like to know is how exactly are these massive sums going to be deployed?
Now all of that sounds fine, except one small problem, U.S. jobs for U.S. workers is not part of the bill.
Note the political campaign contributors who benefit from such a project, so where are these projects at least tied to U.S. workers?
Folks who read of all political flavors are now examining the details on some of these provisions also wanting to know the specifics of who will receive this money for what, the details.
There are multiple watch dog groups pointing to Google lobbying for the the electronic medical records contract now in the Stimulus bill. That is a $20 billion dollar project. Note, there are no requirements that health information technology must be manufactured, designed and engineered in the United States by American workers.
The road to hell is not paved with good intentions but because the builders did not have enough sunlight to see where they were going.
Update: CNN lists the latest cuts from the Senate version:
- $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)
- $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)
- $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)
- $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)
- $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)
- $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)
- $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)
- $55 million for historic preservation
- $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters
- $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization
- $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
- $65 million for watershed rehabilitation
- $100 million for distance learning
- $98 million for school nutrition
- $50 million for aquaculture
- $2 billion for broadband
- $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology
- $50 million for detention trustee
- $25 million for Marshalls Construction
- $300 million for federal prisons
- $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program
- $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program
- $10 million state and local law enforcement
- $50 million for NASA
- $50 million for aeronautics
- $50 million for exploration
- $50 million for Cross Agency Support
- $200 million for National Science Foundation
- $100 million for science
- $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees
- $4.5 billion for General Services Administration
- $89 million General Services Administration operations
- $50 million from Department of Homeland Security
- $200 million Transportation Security Administration
- $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use
- $25 million for Fish and Wildlife
- $55 million for historic preservation
- $20 million for working capital fund
- $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement
- $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management
- $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start
- $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity
- $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants
- $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)
- $16 billion for school construction
- $3.5 billion for higher education construction
- $1.25 billion for project based rental
- $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization
- $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing
- $40 billion for state fiscal stabilization (includes $7.5 billion of state