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February 4, 2009
Re: Federal Stimulus Bill
The Senate began consideration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Monday. The proposed Senate substitute for H.R.1 is currently being debated and has, itself, been amended. More amendments will be debated today. Senate floor action by the end of the week, or over the weekend, remains a possibility. That would position the bill for Conference Committee consideration, to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions, and possible final approval next week.
The bill could, therefore, be on President Obama’s desk by the middle of the month – his self-imposed deadline for action.
The White House today released State specific details of the impact of the plan. This 102 page document can be accessed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/White_House_Releases_Additional_State1.pdf.
Yesterday, the Senate failed to gain the 60 votes needed to pass an amendment, offered by Senators Murray and Feinstein, to boost highway funding from $27 billion to $40 billion, transit funding from $8.4 billion to $13.4 billion, and water and sewer funding from $6 billion to $13 billion.
The National League of Cities (NLC) keeps getting, and providing to us, new information about possible amendments. Here are a few updates and we will try to continue to keep you posted as the debate continues.
- While the Murray-Feinstein amendment failed 58-39, NLC is still working on changes to the stimulus package that would allow SRF (State Revolving Loan Fund) money to go to local governments as grants, rather than loans.
- The Senate removed the funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program. House version has $1 billion.
- Of the $4.2 billion that is set aside for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, $2.1 billion is for a competitive grant to states or local jurisdictions that have adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code and implement integrated resource planning and rate design modifications as defined in the Public Utility Regulatory Act.
- Senators are considering an amendment to add additional funding for public transportation, following the defeat of the Murray-Feinstein amendment. An amendment to add $3 billion in transit spending was approved during House debate on HR 1
- A proposed amendment by Senator Bond would take $5.5 billion in spending for competitive highway grants and put that funding back into the regular formula grant program
- A proposed Inhofe-Boxer amendment that would provide an estimated $50 billion in stimulus funds that would remain un-obligated to be distributed to states for highway, transit and SRF funding
Meanwhile, NLC has begun planning, the better to assist us, after the legislation’s enactment. NLC staff is developing several resources, including web based seminars, conference calls, and a website that will link our members to internal and external technical resources.
Additionally, as they prepare for the upcoming Congressional City Conference, they are developing conference sessions that will feature panel discussions, general session speakers, hand-outs, and other information regarding economic recovery efforts for cities and towns and tips for accessing and using federal resources. For more information on the Conference, which will be held in Washington, March 14-18, visit http://www.nlc.org/CONFERENCES___EVENTS/concityconference.aspx.
You will begin hearing more next week about the resources they are developing to help municipalities successfully implement recovery activities funded (and unfunded) by the recovery package
For more on this, call Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.