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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FOR FEBRUARY 19, 2009:

Budget/Appropriations/Economic Overview


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

After several weeks of negotiations, Congress passed the final version of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 13th. The House voted 246-183 while the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 60-38.

President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus package into law on February 17th.

Highlights of the appropriations portion included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act follows.

Investments in Health:

  • $19 billion, including $2 billion in discretionary funds and $17 billion for investments and incentives through Medicare and Medicaid to ensure widespread adoption and use of interoperable health information technology (IT). This provision will grow jobs in the information technology sector, and will jumpstart efforts to increase the use of health IT in doctors’ offices, hospitals and other medical facilities. This will reduce health care costs and improve the quality of health care for all Americans;
  • $1 billion for prevention and wellness programs to fight preventable diseases and conditions with evidence-based strategies;
  • $10 billion to conduct biomedical research in areas such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stem cells, and to improve NIH facilities; and
  •  $1.1 billion to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NIH and the HHS Office of the Secretary to evaluate the relative effectiveness of different health care services and treatment options.

Science:

  • $1 billion total for NASA; •$3 billion total for National Science Foundation (NSF);
  • $2 billion total for Science at the Department of Energy including $400 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E); and
  • $830 million total for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

Other funding areas in the stimulus bill include:

  • Investments in Education and Training - $105.9 billion;
  • Investments in Energy, including over $30 billion in infrastructure;
  • Helping Americans Hit Hardest by the Economic Crisis - $24.3 billion; and
  • Law Enforcement, Oversight, Other Programs - $7.8 billion.

The tax portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes:

  • Tax Relief for American Families; •Business Tax Incentives to Create Jobs and Spur Investment;
  • Tax Incentives to Spur Energy Savings and Green Jobs; and
  • Tax Incentives for State and Local Economic Development.

Finishing the FY 2009 Appropriations Bills:

With the current funding levels provided in the Continuing Resolution set to expire March 6th, it is speculated that the House will take up the FY 2009 Omnibus spending bill the week of February 23rd.

FY 2010 Budget:

President Obama is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address on February 24th where it is expected he will highlight portions of his Budget Proposal for the coming Fiscal Year. With it being a Presidential transition year, the President will not likely transmit his total Budget Proposal to the Congress until sometime in April.

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