American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Economiclogo.png This legislation or issue article is part of the Congresspedia
Economic Policy (U.S.) Portal.
This encyclopedia is written by people like you, so jump in:

<USbillinfo congress="111" bill="H.R.1" />

Brief Summary

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a stimulus bill passed into law in February 2009. The $787 billion plan includes a significant package of tax cuts and spending to stimulate the economy and create jobs. [1] "The package also imposes new limits on cash bonuses and other incentive compensation for executives on Wall Street, which are much tougher than those proposed by the Obama administration last week." [2] For a total on stimulus spending: see Stimulus Tracker [1]


The final (conference) version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) totals $787 billion in spending and tax cuts over the period of 2009-2019.[3] (The earlier House version totaled $819 billion, while the Senate version totaled $838 billion.[4]) Lawmakers had estimated the cost of the final package to be $789 billion, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the plan would cost a total of $787 billion and increase the federal deficit by $185 billion this year and by $399 billion next year.[5]


The bill provides an estimated $575 billion in appropriations and direct spending. This includes: [6] [7]

  • Direct aid to people affected by economic downturn
    • Increase unemployment benefits by $25 per week
    • Increase food stamp benefits by 13 percent per month
    • 60 percent subsidy for up to nine months for those laid off to help cover price of continuing coverage of health care under COBRA
    • $4 billion for job training
  • Health care
    • $87 billion in expanded Medicaid coverage to the poor
    • $19 billion for updating health information technology
  • Education
    • $500 increase in maximum Pell Grants (to $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010) for low-income students
    • $54 billion to states and local school districts
    • $12 billion for special education
    • $1 billion for Head Start
  • Infrastructure
    • $29 billion to modernize roads and bridges
    • $18 billion for clean water, flood control and environmental restoration
    • $8.4 billion for transit
    • $8 billion for high-speed rail
    • $7 billion to expand broadband coverage, mostly in rural areas
    • $5 billion to improve Defense Department facilities, including housing for troops
    • $4.5 billion to make federal office buildings more energy-efficient
  • Energy
    • $30 billion to update power grid
    • $6.3 billion to improve energy efficiency in federally-assisted multifamily housing
    • $5 billion to weatherize low-income homes

Tax cuts

The bill provides an estimated $212 billion in tax cuts, including: [8] [9]

  • One-time payment of $250 to those who receive Social Security or government disability
  • Tax credit of up to $400 for individuals who earn less than $75,000 per year, and up to $800 for families who earn less than $150,000 per year
  • $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers if home purchased between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009
  • Tax credit of $2,500 for higher education
  • Tax credit of up to $1,500 for homeowners who make homes more energy efficient
  • Car buyers can deduct sales tax from taxable income if car purchased in 2009
  • 24 million people exempted from Alternative Minimum Tax in 2009
  • Earned Income Tax Credit expanded to low-income families - that pay no taxes - with three or more children
  • Expansion of $1,000 per child tax credit to more low-income families
  • The remainder of the tax cuts are geared toward business, with about $20 billion for renewable energy tax credits

The bill also included provisions that would cap executive pay at $500,000, limit bonuses, and eliminate "golden parachutes" at any bank receiving federal money.[10]

Bill passage


The House took up consideration of H.R. 1 on January 27, 2009 and proceeded to makes changes to the original proposal. Among the modifications were:

  • The removal of a provision to increase Medicaid family planning coverage. Republicans argued that the provision did not qualify as economic stimulus.[11]
  • The removal of $200 million in proposed spending to renovate the National Mall.[12]
  • An amendment sponsored by Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) increasing funding for mass transit by $3 billion, which passed on a voice vote.[13][14]

The House also rejected the following three amendments:

  • An amendment by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) that would have stricken out all of the appropriations measures from the bill.[15] This amendment was defeated by a vote of 302-134.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="house" rollcall="42" />

  • An amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would have taken out funding for Amtrak.[16] This amendment was defeated by a vote of 320-116.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="house" rollcall="43" />

  • An amendment by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) in the form of a substitute that proposed an economic package consisting mainly of tax breaks.[17][18] This amendment was defeated by a vote of 266-170.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="house" rollcall="44" />

The amended bill passed the House on January 28, 2009 by a vote of 244-188. No Republican voted in favor of the bill.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="house" rollcall="46" />


The Senate received H.R. 1 on January 29, 2009 and proceeded to develop its own version of the legislation. After a week of discussions and amendments increased the size of the bill to an estimated $900 billion, negotiations began to center on a group of Senators, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who sought to make $100 billion in cuts to the proposal.[19] An agreement was eventually announced on February 6, 2009.[20] The following day an amended version of the bill, co-sponsored by Senators Collins and Nelson, was introduced in the Senate.[21]

Cloture was invoked on the Collins-Nelson amendment on February 9, 2009 by a vote of 61-37.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="Senate" rollcall="59" />

Two more votes were required to pass the Collins-Nelson version of the bill. Both took place on February 10, 2009. First, the Senate voted to waive pay-as-you-go budget rules with respect to the amendment by a vote of 61-37.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="Senate" rollcall="60" />

Finally, the Senate passed the amended bill by a vote of 61-37, sending it into conference with the House.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="Senate" rollcall="61" />


After a day of intense negotiations, House and Senate leaders came to an agreement on February 11, 2009.[22] A few additional changes were made on February 12, 2009, after which the text of the final version of the bill was posted online at 10:45 p.m.[23] The negotiations reduced the size of the bill to $787 billion, smaller than either the House or the Senate versions.[24][25]

Both chambers passed the conference version of the bill on February 13, 2009.

In the House, the vote was 246-183. As in the first House vote, no Republican voted for the bill.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="House" rollcall="70" />

The Senate voted first to waive pay-as-you-go budget rules by a tally of 60-38.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="Senate" rollcall="63" />

Then the Senate approved final passage of the bill by the same margin of 60-38.

<USvoteinfo year="2009" chamber="Senate" rollcall="64" />

Bill becomes law

President Obama signed the bill into law on February 17, 2009.[26]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. "US Congress Passes Stimulus Plan,", "BBC News," February 14, 2009.
  2. Id.
  3. Open Congress' info page on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
  4. David M. Herszenhorn, "Senate Approves Stimulus Plan," The New York Times, February 10, 2009
  5. Douglas W. Elmendorf, "Conference Agreement for H.R. 1 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009)," Congressional Budget Office Director’s Blog, February 13, 2009
  6. Gannett News Service, "What's in the stimulus package," Detroit Free Press, February 13, 2009
  7. Michael Grabell and Christopher Weaver, "The Stimulus Plan: A Detailed List of Spending,", February 13, 2009
  8. Jeanne Sahadi, "Stimulus: How it may affect your wallet,", February 13, 2009
  9. Stephen Ohlemacher, "Stimulus bill offers workers, businesses tax cuts," The Associated Press, February 12, 2009
  10. Pallavi Gogoi,"Stimulus bill's CEO salary caps affect small banks, too" USA Today, February 16, 2009
  11. Jackie Calmes and Carl Hulse, "Obama, Visiting G.O.P. Lawmakers, Is Open to Some Compromise on Stimulus", New York Times, January 27, 2009.
  12. Jackie Calmes and Carl Hulse, "Obama, Visiting G.O.P. Lawmakers, Is Open to Some Compromise on Stimulus", New York Times, January 27, 2009.
  13. Elana Schor, "Mass Transit Scores Big Win in House Stimulus", TPMDC, January 28, 2009.
  14. Text of H.AMDT.15 from Thomas.
  15. Text of H.AMDT.16 from Thomas.
  16. Text of H.AMDT.18 from Thomas.
  17. Liz Sidoti, "House OKs $819B stimulus bill with GOP opposition", The Associated Press, January 28, 2009.
  18. Text of H.AMDT.22 from Thomas.
  19. Carl Hulse, "A Diverse Group of Senators at Center Stage in Economic Debate", New York Times, February 5, 2009.
  20. Carl Hulse and David M. Herszenhorn, [ "Senators Reach Deal on Stimulus Plan as Jobs Vanish", New York Times, February, 6, 2009.
  21. Thomas' info page on H.R. 1.
  22. David M. Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse, "", New York Times, February 11, 2009.
  23. David M. Herszenhorn, "Even After the Deal, Tinkering Goes On", New York Times, February 12, 2009.
  24. David M. Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse, "Details of a Trimmer Stimulus Emerge", New York Times, February 12, 2009.
  25. David M. Herszenhorn, "Recovery Bill Gets Final Approval", New York Times, February 13, 2009.
  26. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Signing Stimulus, Obama Doesn’t Rule Out More", New York Times, February 17, 2009.

External resources

External articles