On this Mother's Day, we honor all of America's mothers and grandmothers. This 111th Congress knows that, in order to succeed as a nation, we must ensure that the needs and priorities of America's mothers, grandmothers, and their children are being fully addressed. In many cases, women play a key role in their family's economic well-being. It is estimated that 70 percent of women with children under 18 work outside the home. Many of these women are the sole support of their families. As this report documents, the 111th Congress has been working hard on addressing the key concerns of:
- OUR MOTHERS
Enacting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; a Budget that implements President Obama's economic plan for long-term growth; and a sweeping, historic Recovery Act, that will create or save 3.5 million jobs, cut taxes for 95 percent of families, and invest in the future.
- OUR GRANDMOTHERS
The Recovery Act includes numerous provisions for seniors, including providing a $250 payment to Social Security recipients; providing funding for nearly 14 million additional meals for seniors; and extending a program that helps low-income seniors with their Medicare Part B premiums.
- OUR CHILDREN
Enacting Children's Health Care for 11 Million Children; passing New Regulations on Tobacco Products to Protect Our Children; enacting a Budget that makes major new investments to improve education; and enacting the Recovery Act, which invests in education, Head Start, child support enforcement, and nutrition for women, infants, and children.
LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY ACT
Equal pay for equal work is a key concern of America's mothers. Millions of America's mothers work outside the home. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first major bill to be signed into law by President Obama - highlighting that equal pay was a top priority for the 111th Congress and the new President. The President signed it into law on January 29, 2009 (PL 111-2).
- Restores the Right of Women and Other Workers to Challenge Unfair Pay in Court: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act rectifies the May 2007 Ledbetter v Goodyear Supreme Court decision that overturned precedent and made it much more difficult for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims. The bill simply restores the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other discrimination statutes, thereby protecting women and other workers.
- Equal Pay for Equal Work: Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental American principle. The Lilly Ledbetter Act is designed to better ensure equal pay for equal work for women and other workers.
- Women Still Earn 78 Cents for Every Dollar Earned by a Man: More than 40 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, statistics show that women continue to be paid less for performing the same job as their male colleagues. On average, women earn just 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The Institute of Women's Policy Research has found that this wage disparity costs women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million in lost wages over a lifetime.
- Equal Pay is Not Just A Women's Issue, But A Family Issue: The wage gap hurts everyone - husbands, wives, children, and parents - because it lowers family incomes that pay for essentials: groceries, doctors' visits, child care. When women earn more, an entire family benefits. Furthermore, 41 percent of women are their families' sole source of income.
- Act Was Named After A Woman Who Had Been A Clear Victim of Sex-Based Pay Discrimination: Lilly Ledbetter worked for nearly two decades at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber facility in Alabama. She sued the company after learning that she was the lowest-paid supervisor at the plant, despite having more experience than several of her male counterparts. And yet she was denied any relief by the Supreme Court in its misguided 5-4 ruling.
THE BUDGET - AN ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT
The number-one concern of America's mothers, along with other Americans, is the state of the economy and the prospects for economic growth. On April 29, the House and Senate both adopted the Budget Conference Agreement, which reflects President Obama's economic plan - a blueprint for economic recovery and jobs now, and sustainable economic growth and prosperity for years to come.
In providing a blueprint for economic recovery now and for economic growth over the long-term, the Budget Conference Agreement includes numerous key provisions that will address the needs and improve the lives of America's mothers and their families.
- Provides the Blueprint for Economic Strength: The budget provides a blueprint for economic recovery - creating new jobs with targeted investments in affordable health care, clean energy, and education and cutting taxes for middle-income families by more than $1.7 trillion over 10 years.
- Supports the President's Goals for Health Care Reform: The budget incorporates the President's goals for health care reform, including reducing health care costs, expanding coverage to help the 46 million Americans who now lack health insurance, and improving safety and quality. It also assumes that health reform will be paid for so that it does not add to the deficit.
- Builds Upon Education Investments in the Recovery Act: The budget builds upon the major investments in education in the Recovery Act with further support for early childhood education, high standards and the tools to achieve them for elementary and secondary school students, and efforts to continue to make college more affordable for more families.
- Invests in A Clean Energy Economy: The budget builds on significant funding and tax incentives in the Recovery Act by increasing our investments in renewable energy by some 10 percent in 2010. It also creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund to promote energy independence, calling for investments in energy efficiency and clean energy to launch a sustainable era of job creation and make America a global technology leader once again.
- Cuts the Deficit by Nearly Two-Thirds in Four Years: The budget cut the deficit by nearly two thirds in four years and even further to 3% of GDP in 2014, putting the budget on a fiscally sustainable path needed for future economic strength. This budget is in sharp contrast to the historic budget deficit that President Obama and the 111th Congress inherited - a deficit of well over $1 trillion in 2009.
THE RECOVERY ACT
On February 17, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Recovery Act”) into law (PL 111-5) - an historic, sweeping bill that will create or save 3.5 million jobs, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, and invest in our nation's future. It will help turn this economy around - the number-one concern of America's mothers. The Recovery Act has a number of key provisions that are especially important to America's mothers - including significant tax cuts for working women; major investments in health care and child care; and the creation of hundreds of thousands of green jobs where women have new opportunities. Some of these provisions are outlined below.
TAX CREDITS FOR WORKING WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Recovery Act”) includes a series of key tax cuts for America's working families, including millions of female-headed households with children - providing these families critical relief.
- Making Work Pay Tax Credit: Provides immediate and sustained tax relief to about 95 percent of American workers and their families, including millions of working women and their families, through the Making Work Pay tax credit. This is a refundable tax credit of up to $400 per worker ($800 per couple filing jointly), phasing out completely at $190,000 for couples filing jointly and $95,000 for single filers. These tax cuts will be distributed to 129 million families by reducing tax withholding from workers' paychecks by April 1st.
- Child Tax Credit: Cuts taxes for the families of more than 16 million children through an expansion of the child tax credit. The measure enables the families of more than 6 million children to become newly eligible for the credit and those of more than 10 million children to receive a larger credit.
- Earned Income Tax Credit: Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for families with three or more children and reduces the marriage penalty in the EITC.
- First-Time Homebuyer Credit: Enhances the current first-time homebuyer tax credit by increasing it to $8,000 (up from $7,500) and by removing the current repayment requirement.
The Recovery Act will help America's mothers with modest incomes, as well as mothers in military families, obtain the child care they need in order to get and keep jobs.
- Child Care: Provides an additional $2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant over the next two years. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) supports quality child care services for low-income families. Many parents were already struggling to afford child care costs before the economic downturn and they face greater challenges today. With the $2 billion in recovery funding, states will be able to provide child care assistance for an additional 300,000 children in low-income working families who have been hit hard by the economic crisis, and create paid work for an estimated 125,000 caregivers.
- Quality-of-Life Improvements for Military Families: Provides $2.3 billion for certain DOD facility improvement projects, including quality-of-life and family-friendly military improvement projects such as family housing, hospitals, and child care centers.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT
Another key concern for mothers is safety for themselves and their children. Due to massive budget shortfalls, many state and local law enforcement programs have been cut back in this recession, including victim services programs. In response to these cutbacks, the Recovery Act provides funding for certain law enforcement and services programs, including the Violence Against Women Act.
- Violence Against Women Act Funding: Provides $225 million for Violence Against Women Grants for victim services programs to improve the criminal justice system's response to violent crimes against women and to assist victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking who are in need of transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services. Domestic violence and other forms of violence against women remain serious problems in our society.
Many of America's mothers are suffering in this economy. There are currently 5.4 million unemployed women, up from 3.6 million a year ago. Many of these unemployed women are the heads of household - with their families relying on them for support. The Act contains steps to extend and increase unemployment benefits.
- Extended Unemployment Benefits: Continues through December 2009 the extended unemployment benefits program (which provides up to 33 weeks of extended benefits), that was otherwise scheduled to begin to phase out at the end of March 2009 - thereby helping an additional 3.5 million jobless workers.
- An Increase in Weekly Unemployment Benefits: Increases unemployment benefits by $25 per week, which will help these 5.3 million unemployed women, many of whom are single mothers. The implementation of this increase was beginning in some states as early as the week of March 1; over the next several weeks, all states will be implementing this increase. The $25 weekly increase is retroactive, covering weeks of unemployment beginning February 22.
- Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: Suspends the taxation of the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits a person receives, for 2009.
In this struggling economy, availability of health care for themselves and their families is another critical concern of America's mothers. The Recovery Act includes critical health care provisions, including major funding for Medicaid, upon which millions of women and children rely, and a provision that will help millions of the unemployed, including unemployed women, obtain affordable health care through COBRA.
- State Medicaid Fiscal Relief: To help states avoid cuts in Medicaid enrollment and coverage of services, provides states an estimated $87 billion in additional federal matching funds for Medicaid over a two-year period. This relief funding is particularly crucial for women and children, because women and children are the majority of Medicaid recipients. There are currently about 22 million women and children who rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. Without Medicaid, most of these low-income women and children would be uninsured.
- A COBRA Subsidy: For the unemployed, including the 5.3 million unemployed American women, provides a 65% federal subsidy of premiums for health care continuation coverage under COBRA for up to 9 months for people who were involuntarily separated from their jobs between 9/1/08 and 12/31/09. Under the COBRA program, workers who are laid off can buy into the health insurance plans of their former employer, but the coverage has typically been unaffordable. This 65% subsidy is designed to make health care continuation coverage under COBRA affordable. It is estimated that this provision will help 7 million people obtain health care coverage.
- NIH Research: Provides $10 billion to conduct biomedical research in areas such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and cancer, which often disproportionately impact older women; and improve NIH facilities.
With millions of families struggling in this economy, many mothers want to be able to ensure that their families have access to adequate nutrition assistance. The Recovery Act includes some critical provisions to fund key nutrition assistance programs.
- Food Stamps: Helps millions of women and their children by providing $19.9 billion to increase food stamp benefits by 13% to help offset rising food costs for more than 31 million Americans, half of whom are children.
- Food Banks: Provides $150 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program to purchase commodities for food banks to refill emptying shelves, benefiting hundreds of thousands of low-income women and children who rely on these food banks.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
With millions of women unemployed, many women are focused on the availability of job opportunities. Because of its emphasis on green jobs, the Recovery Act creates new job opportunities for women. Green jobs are being created in emerging industries that do not have a history of being male-dominated.
- Hundreds of Thousands of New Green Jobs, Creating Opportunities for Women: Makes major, extensive investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency - which are projected to create more than 500,000 jobs, most of them green jobs. These cutting-edge investments include weatherizing up to 1 million homes, upgrading federal buildings and making them energy efficient, loans for renewable energy power generation, and tax credits to promote energy efficiency in homes. All of these investments will create green jobs. Because these jobs are being created in emerging industries, more women have opportunities to pursue these new types of green jobs.
- Enforcement of Worker Protection Laws: Funding in the Act to rebuild infrastructure will create many jobs and provide lasting benefits, but many of these jobs are in fields where women are underrepresented. To help ensure that job opportunities under the Act are available to women, the Act provides $80 million for enforcement of worker protection laws and regulations. Among other things, these laws and regulations require federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative steps to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity for employment without regard to gender and other categories.
- Jobs Created in Education, Health Care, and Child Care. In addition to the funding in the Act for building infrastructure, the Act also provides increased funding for programs such as health care, education, child care, and other social services - thereby preserving and creating jobs in fields currently dominated by women.
Access to job training is also a critical concern for many women. The Recovery Act contains provisions that will provide new job training opportunities for women, including providing $500 million for training for green jobs and expanding TAA job training programs to cover workers in the service sector, where women are heavily represented.
- Overall Total of $3.95 Billion for Job Training: Provides an overall total $3.95 billion for job training, including funding for formula grants for adult job training, youth job training, and dislocated worker job training.
- Includes $750 Million for Training in High-Growth Sectors, with $500 Million of That Designated for Training for Green Jobs: Includes $750 million for a program of competitive grants for worker training and placement in high-growth and emerging industry sectors, with $500 million of this designated for training for green jobs. This training for green jobs offers unique, new opportunities for women. Priority for the remaining $250 million is preparation for careers in health care, which offers many opportunities for women.
- Expands TA A Programs, Including Job Training: Reauthorizes and significantly expands Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Programs, including extending TAA to service sector workers, which will help women workers.
ENSURING CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES
Finally, the Recovery Act includes provisions to help ensure that women-owned and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to obtain their fair share of the contracts being funded under the Act.
- 10% of Transportation Infrastructure Funding Goes to Women-Owned and Minority-Owned Businesses: Provides that the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) provisions apply to the Act's extensive funding for highway, bridge, transit, and airport construction and repair. These provisions require that not less than 10 percent of the amount made available for these projects shall be expended with women-owned and minority-owned businesses.
- Funding for Technical Assistance: Provides $20 million for grants, administered by the DOT Minority Resource Center, for technical assistance for women-owned and minority-owned businesses to assist them in obtaining transportation infrastructure contracts.
- Other Provisions Ensuring Fair Treatment of Women-Owned Businesses: For other infrastructure funding in the bill, such as for upgrading federal buildings and making them more energy efficient, the bill calls for following established federal procedures for ensuring that women-owned and minority-owned businesses have fair opportunities to compete for contracts.
THE RECOVERY ACT
On Mother's Day, we also honor all of America's grandmothers. In addition to all of the key provisions listed above, the Recovery Act has a series of provisions that will benefit seniors, including our grandmothers, as outlined below.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY PAYMENTS FOR SENIORS AND OTHERS
The Recovery Act provides a one-time payment to Social Security beneficiaries, SSI recipients, Railroad Retirement beneficiaries, and disabled veterans. (This one-time payment is designed to reach individuals who are not likely to benefit from the Making Work Pay tax credit.) This provision particularly helps older women, because 58 percent of Social Security retirees are women.
- A $250 Payment: Provides an economic recovery payment of $250 to Social Security recipients, including millions of seniors, SSI recipients, disabled veterans, and certain others - with these payments totaling more than $13 billion and going to more than 50 million people.
- Payments to Social Security Recipients Beginning to Go Out on May 7: The payments to Social Security recipients will begin to go out on May 7, and it is anticipated that all payments to Social Security recipients will be sent out by the end of May.
- Recipients Will Receive Their $250 Payment By Check or Direct Deposit: The $250 payment is being sent to Social Security recipients separately, and not with their monthly Social Security check. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will deliver the payment by check to those recipients who receive their Social Security benefit by check and by direct deposit for those recipients who receive their Social Security benefit by direct deposit.
SENIOR NUTRITION PROGRAMS
During this deep recession, the Recovery Act increases funding for critical senior nutrition programs - including congregate meals and home-delivered meals.
- Meals for Seniors: Provides $100 million for senior nutrition programs, including $65 million for congregate meals and $32 million for home-delivered meals. This funding is expected to provide nearly 14 million additional meals nationwide. These programs are of particular assistance to women, because women are 58 percent of the senior population.
PROTECTING LOW-INCOME MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES
The Recovery Act includes a key provision to protect certain low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
- Extending Key Program for Certain Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries: Extends the Qualified Individual (QI) program, which assists certain low-income Medicare beneficiaries with their Medicare Part B premiums, through December 31, 2010. (Under current law, the program expires on December 31, 2009.) This program is critical for tens of thousands of seniors on limited incomes.
PREVENTING CERTAIN SCHEDULED CUTS IN MEDICARE
The Recovery Act also contains important provisions blocking scheduled cuts in certain Medicare payments, which would have been damaging to teaching hospitals and hospice providers.
- Blocks Scheduled Cut in Medicare Payments for Teaching Hospitals: Blocks a scheduled FY 2009 Medicare payment reduction to teaching hospitals, related to capital payments, which would have cost the teaching hospitals $191 million. Teaching hospitals play a vital role in providing quality care to hundreds of thousands of Medicare patients each year.
- Blocks Scheduled Cut in Medicare Payments to Hospices: Blocks a scheduled FY 2009 Medicare payment reduction to hospice providers, which would have cost hospice providers $134 million. Hospice programs served 850,000 Medicare beneficiaries and their families in 2005 (the most recent year for which data is available), providing compassionate end-of-life care. Blocking this payment reduction will ensure that hospices continue to receive the same reimbursement rate for wages as last year.
HEALTH CARE FOR 11 MILLION CHILDREN
In honoring America's mothers, we are also fighting for the interests of their children. The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (CHIP) was the second major bill to be signed into law by President Obama - highlighting that children's health was a top priority for the 111th Congress and the new President. The President signed it into law on February 4, 2009 (PL 111-3).
- Provides Health Care Coverage for 11 Million Children: This bill renews and improves the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), providing health care coverage for 11 million children - preserving coverage for 7 million children currently covered by CHIP and extending coverage to 4 million uninsured children who are eligible for CHIP but not yet enrolled.
- Provides Coverage for Children in Modest-Income Families: CHIP was created in 1997 to provide health care coverage for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance.
- Provides Resources for States to Reach Uninsured But Eligible Children: Two-thirds of uninsured children are currently eligible for CHIP or Medicaid - but better outreach and adequate funding are needed to identify and enroll them. This bill gives states the resources and incentives, such as certain bonus payments, necessary to reach and cover millions of uninsured children who are eligible for, but not yet enrolled in, CHIP and Medicaid.
- Is More Critical Than Ever, In This Recession: With rising unemployment, more and more Americans are having difficulty finding affordable health insurance for their children and this bill has become more critical than ever.
- Is In the Interests of the American Taxpayer: Providing health care coverage for more children is not only the right thing to do - it's also much more cost-effective for the American taxpayer. Children without health insurance tend to go to emergency rooms when they get sick - which is the most costly care there is. In addition, a healthy child is better prepared for learning and success.
REGULATIONS ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN
In addition to providing health care coverage for 11 million children, another step that the 111th Congress has taken on behalf of America's children is passing a bill that will help reduce underage smoking - a critical health issue for children. On April 1, the House passed H.R. 1256, Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, by a vote of 298-112. It is anticipated that the Senate will take up this legislation in June.
- Provides for New Regulations on Tobacco Products: The bill grants, for the first time, the FDA authority to regulate the advertising, marketing, and manufacturing of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco.
- Tobacco Is One-Number Cause of Preventable Death in America: Tobacco is currently the number-one-cause of preventable death in America. It is responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths annually, or about 443,000 deaths per year according to the CDC. Approximately 8.6 million Americans also suffer from chronic illnesses related to smoking.
- Most New Users of Tobacco Are Underage: Every day, more than 3,500 youth try a cigarette for the first time, and another 1,000 will become new, regular daily smokers. One-third of these youth will eventually die prematurely as a result.
- Advertising and Marketing Play A Key Role in Children and Adolescents Smoking: Tobacco advertising and marketing contribute significantly to the use of tobacco products by children and adolescents, who are more influenced by tobacco marketing than adults.
- The Bill Imposes Regulations to Reduce Underage Smoking: The bill imposes new regulations on marketing and sales to youth, including: 1) banning outdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds; 2) banning all remaining tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events; 3) restricting vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities; and 4) requiring retailers to verify age for all over-the-counter sales and providing for federal enforcement and penalties against retailers who sell to minors.
THE BUDGET - AN ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT
Another step that the 111th Congress has taken on behalf of America's children is passing the Budget Conference Agreement on April 29. A key focus of the Budget Conference Agreement is our children and young people - with key investments in improving education and making college more affordable.
- Builds on Recovery Act's Historic Investment in Education: The budget includes the $100 billion in education funding provided in the Recovery Act to help states maintain elementary, secondary, and higher education services in the face of this deep recession.
- Increases K-12 Education Funding to Raise Student Achievement: The budget matches the President's proposed increase in education funding for targeted services that will raise student achievement using both proven practices and innovative approaches.
- Supports Early Childhood Education: The budget supports education at an early age through a range of approaches, including the President's initiatives to help strengthen and expand early childhood education programs, and increases in home-visiting services.
- Supports Improved School Breakfast and Lunch Programs: The budget includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to reauthorize, expand, and improve child nutrition programs. This reserve fund provides for improvements to meal quality and access in the school lunch and school breakfast programs, which serve nutritious meals to more than 31 million children every year.
- Makes College More Affordable and Accessible: The budget incorporates the President's proposal to continue raising the maximum Pell Grant in a fiscally responsible way and to provide additional assistance to help more low-income high schools graduates attend and complete college.
THE RECOVERY ACT
Finally, another critical step that the 111th Congress has taken on behalf of America's children was enacting the historic, sweeping Recovery Act on February 17. This Act includes a number of key provisions focused on children and young people - including provisions on Head Start, child support enforcement, child nutrition, and education. Some of these provisions are outlined below.
HEAD START AND EARLY HEAD START
The Recovery Act will help children get the early learning they need to succeed.
- Head Start: Provides an additional $1 billion for Head Start over the next two years. The highly successful Head Start program provides comprehensive education, health and nutrition, and child development services to help ensure that low-income children can succeed in school. On April 2, HHS announced that, of the $1 billion, $220 million will allow Head Start to serve 16,600 additional children; $354 million will be dedicated to quality enhancements; $121 million will be used for a COLA for teachers and staff; and the rest of the funding will be used for such items as bolstering training and technical assistance activities.
- Early Head Start: Provides an additional $1.1 billion for Early Head Start over the next two years. Early Head Start provides child and family development services to low-income infants and toddlers (ages 0-2). On April 2, HHS announced that the $1.1 billion in recovery funding will allow the program to nearly double its enrollment - increasing Early Head Start enrollment by about 55,000 infants and toddlers (thereby bringing total enrollment up to 116,000).
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT
The Recovery Act fully restores for two years the cuts in federal funding for child support enforcement that were enacted by a GOP-controlled Congress in 2006, better ensuring that children and families receive the support payments they are owed.
- Child Support Enforcement: Child support enforcement is critical to millions of American children and families. Indeed, one of out of every four children in America receives child support. Child support is 31% of family income for poor single mothers when received - the second largest source after earnings. Furthermore, child support enforcement is a highly effective program. In 2007, for every dollar invested in child support enforcement, $4.58 was collected in child support payments. It has been estimated that the federal cuts in child support enforcement have caused families to lose $1 billion in support payments each year; by restoring this funding, these vulnerable families will once again be receiving these payments.
NUTRITION FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN AND INFANTS
The Recovery Act provides additional funding for nutrition for children and infants.
- WIC: Provides $500 million for the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), providing this additional funding to ensure that, during this recession as the need for programs such as WIC grows, no women and children will be turned away from the program.
Finally, the Recovery Act makes numerous key investments to improve educational quality in K-12 education and to make college more affordable.
- State Fiscal Stabilization Fund: Establishes a $53.6 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which will help millions of schoolchildren across the country by helping to prevent teacher layoffs and other cutbacks in education and other key services. Up until the enactment of the Recovery Act, with states facing an unprecedented, massive fiscal crisis, school districts had been forced to take such steps as laying off teachers, eliminating education programs, and abolishing services.
- Other Assistance to Local Schools: Provides $16 billion in additional funding for local school districts through Title I ($13 billion), IDEA ($12.2 billion), Education Technology ($650 million), and Teacher Quality Grants ($300 million).
- American Opportunity Tax Credit: Makes college more affordable for millions of low- and moderate-income young people by replacing the Hope Scholarship credit with a new “American Opportunity Tax Credit” with a maximum of $2,500 rather than the current $1,800. The measure also provides the new tax credit to more than 4 million low-income students who had not had any access to higher education tax credits in the past, by making it partially refundable.
- Pell Grants: Also makes college more affordable for approximately 7 million students by increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $500, for a maximum of $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010.