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The News Across America: Immediate Help and Long-Term Solutions

Last week, the House passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, working from priorities shared with President Barack Obama.  This week, the bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

A staggering 2.6 million American jobs were lost in the last year of the Bush Administration -- the culmination of a failed economic approach -- one that also doubled our national debt in eight short years.  We need a New Direction.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will:

  • create and save 3 to 4 million jobs, rebuilding America, making us more globally competitive and energy independent, and transforming our economy for long-term growth.
  • give 95 percent of Americans an immediate tax cut.
  • invest quickly into the economy - 75 percent in the first 18 months.

The economic recovery plan has unprecedented accountability measures built in--providing strong oversight, an historic degree of public transparency, and including no earmarks.

ALABAMA
Birmingham News - Stimulus plan could bring Alabama schools $1 billion

Alabama schools would gain nearly $1 billion over the next two years under a proposed economic stimulus plan passed by the U.S. House on Wednesday…

Education officials estimate the federal package, which the Senate will take up Monday, will keep at least 3,000 teachers from losing their jobs.

Although the plan has drawn criticism from Republicans and others who call the spending wasteful, Alabama educators say they desperately need the money… [1/29/09]

COLORADO
KRDO - ABC Channel 13 - Local Bridges May Benefit From Stimulus Funds

Two new bridges in Pueblo County and one in El Paso County likely will be the result of the federal economic stimulus plan, if agreed upon by Congress…

CDOT currently is re-evaluating the 120 worst bridges to ensure the stimulus money pays to rebuild those highest on the priority list.

Colorado has estimated bridge needs of more than $1 billion.  The stimulus doesn't address even half of the needs, but without it local governments would find it difficult or impossible to repair bridges themselves. [1/29/09]

GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution -Ga. schools could get $1 billion

Georgia's public schools stand to receive more than $1 billion in additional federal money for construction and to help students with disabilities and those who come from poor families.

The money is part of the… stimulus bill pushed by President Barack Obama that the House approved Wednesday…

If the bill becomes law, “this will probably be the best education funding news we have had from an American president or Congress in 25 years,” said Frank Petruzielo, superintendent of Cherokee County schools. “These are the kids in our schools who need the most help, and this is the first step I've seen by the federal government to really level the playing field.”… [1/30/09]

LOUISANA
AP - Stimulus Bill Includes More than $5B in La. Aid

The national economic stimulus proposal in Congress could provide billions of dollars in bailout aid for Louisiana and help stave off some of the state's most devastating budget cuts being considered for next year…

Included in the U.S. House plan, Louisiana would stand to receive $1.6 billion over three years for the Medicaid program for the poor, disabled and elderly and $945 million in general financial assistance over two years. Those dollars could be plugged directly into the state budget to avoid cuts… [1/28/09]

MAINE
Kennebec Journal Editorial- Stimulus Bill Needs to Include Help for the Hungry

…The House stimulus bill just passed contains a $20 billion food stamp benefits increase, along with a $300 million increase for state food-stamp administrative costs. The latter is an important additional measure to help states handle the big increase in food stamp applications. As Maine has seen with the flood of applicants recently for unemployment benefits, even if we have the money to give them, without adequate staff to process applications, those in need can't get the money they're entitled to get… [2/2/09]

MASSACHUSSETTS
Boston Globe - Stimulus bill would give state $11 billion

Massachusetts would receive at least $6.5 billion in federal aid during the next two years - and residents would receive nearly $5 billion more in tax relief, unemployment checks, food stamps, and other benefits - under the economic stimulus bill passed this week by the US House, analysts said yesterday.

The bill would save or create 94,560 jobs in Massachusetts, according to an analysis released yesterday by Moody's Economy.com. Last month, about 235,400 residents were unemployed… [1/30/09]

MISSISSIPPI
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Editorial - Economic Fuel

…[T]he thrust of the legislation is essential to the nation's economic recovery. That's the opinion of President Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress, but it's also the view of most economists and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And polls show public support as high as 80 percent for stimulus legislation.

The historically tested idea is to generate new economic activity that wouldn't otherwise take place by infusing cash into the marketplace. The public infrastructure spending in the legislation should mean stepped-up highway construction in Northeast Mississippi. The increased unemployment benefits and health care assistance will help those who have lost jobs, while the tax cuts are designed to prime the spending pump for individuals and businesses, giving the economy a shot in the arm.

Meanwhile, Mississippi's hard-hit state budget -including funding for schools and Medicaid -would get major help from the legislation. Public schools in Mississippi would receive $507 million over the next two years…

Obama has kept true to his pledge to reach out to Republicans. He made some concessions -notably business tax cuts - and said he's open to more compromise as the focus moves to the Senate. The GOP House minority chose unanimously to dig in and oppose the bill, offering mostly tax cuts as an alternative…

But the nation is in an economic crisis that requires targeted government action, even - indeed, necessarily - on a massive scale. Childers and the House majority did the right thing for the times we're in. [1/30/09]

NEW MEXICO
KOAT - ABC Channel 7 - N.M. Benefits from Stimulus Plan

As lawmakers in Washington debate President Barack Obama's stimulus plan, numbers are emerging about New Mexico's potential share of the cash…

Included in the bill is over $208 million for the state's highways and bridges. Schools would get a big chunk as well, with over $329 million going into New Mexico's K-12 schools… [1/29/09]

NEW YORK/NATIONAL
New York Times Editorial - The Stimulus Advances

The signature achievement of the $819 billion stimulus and recovery bill, passed on Wednesday by the House, is that it directs most of its resources where they would do the most good to stimulate the economy.

The bill is large because this deep recession is getting deeper, and the recovery, when it comes, is expected to be slow. President Obama and the lawmakers who wrote the bill are to be commended for not letting size distort the substance. Contrary to the claims of Republican opponents that the bill indiscriminately rains money down, the amounts and categories of spending have, for the most part, been calculated carefully and chosen well…

It will be a long and unpleasant climb from the ruins of the economy. But the House stimulus package is a good first step. The Senate, which takes up its version next week, should follow suit. [1/29/09]

TEXAS
Amarillo Globe-News - Stimulus Aids Schools

School districts in the Texas Panhandle will be the beneficiaries of millions of dollars tucked into the $819 billion federal stimulus bill, but administrators are not yet certain how the money will be used…

'What this allows for is targeting money toward students who need it most,' said Evan Smith, Pampa's deputy superintendent.

The bill is expected to provide $620,000 this year for construction in Pampa, according to estimates from the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.

'Everybody has leaking roofs and aging buildings,' Smith said. 'That sometimes has to be put on hold because of the academic needs of students.'… [1/30/09]

UTAH
Salt Lake Tribune Editorial - Stimulus Bill: On the whole, it makes sense

So how stimulating is the $818 billion economic stimulus bill the U.S. House just passed? Our answer is that the bill isn't perfect, but it looks like it will give the economy a jolt that it needs…

Its $30 billion for highway construction will surely put builders to work. Ditto for the $13.1 billion for other forms of transportation, including mass transit, and the $8.4 billion for clean drinking water…

Much of the other money in the bill is to help people who have lost their jobs. There's $89 billion for Medicaid, the health-insurance plan for the poor, and $13.3 billion of health-insurance assistance for the unemployed. That's not direct job creation, but it would help to preserve jobs in the health sector. And helping people in need is the right thing to do… [1/29/09]

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial - Stimulus that cushions

… The House's $819 billion stimulus package, approved 244-188 on a mostly party-line vote, would provide billions to the states for education, health and infrastructure projects. But it also includes $275 billion in tax cuts and $63 billion for added food stamps and extending and increasing unemployment benefits.

Wisconsin's share could be a minimum $1.15 billion. The bill's supporters say the legislation will save or create 4 million jobs.

The relatively speedy passage of this bill - to be taken up and likely changed by the Senate next week - sends another worthy message: Yes, sacrifice, too, as the federal deficit swells but also that Americans are in need of immediate help… [1/29/09]

WASHINGTON
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial - Loyal opposition: Still out of touch

…When the House votes were tallied for the $819 billion stimulus bill, not one Republican, moderate or conservative, could find a way to vote yes. Sure, it's not a perfect bill. It probably doesn't go far enough because it's clear that more will be needed to right this economy. That's the reason this stimulus package had broad support from economists and businesses, as well as state and local governments. Doing something -- even if not enough -- was better than Congress stuck in a partisan bog.

Elections matter -- and the country voted to give President Barack Obama the job because we're tired of hearing 'tax cuts' as the solution to every economic problem. Yet there they go again. Moderates (including our region's Rep. Dave Reichert) were 100 percent in line with an out-of-touch party leadership. [1/29/09]