Congress is on track to vote on the stimulus bill today.
The stimulus plan is now estimated at $789.2 billion by the Congressional Budget Office. Here are the highlights of what is included:
- $281 billion in tax cuts
- $308 billion in outlays funded by the appropriations committees
- $198 billion in spending for benefit programs such as unemployment assistance
- $250 payments or millions of people receiving Social Security benefits, and extra money for states to help with the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled.
- the “Making Work Pay” tax cut would be scaled back from $500 for most workers to $400, with couples getting $800 instead of $1,000
Specifically for energy programs, the bill contains about $50 billion, including:
- $13.9 billion to subsidize loans for renewable energy projects
- $11 billion toward a smart electricity grid to reduce waste
- $6.4 billion to clean up nuclear-weapon production sites
- $6.3 billion in state energy efficiency and clean energy grants
- $5 billion to weatherize modest-income homes
- $4.5 billion to make federal buildings more energy efficient
“By investing in new jobs, in science and innovation, in energy, in education … we are investing in the American people, which is the best guarantee of the success of our nation,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Everyone has been waiting for the stimulus package, especially businesses in the energy sector. Renewable energy companies and sustainable ventures have been lying low waiting for the opportunity to “announce” their business plans based upon funding or incentives that they hope to receive as a result of the fiscal stimulus.
However it might still be a long while before they have something to announce. Not only does the Energy Department have a reputation for delays but according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the department may need an overhaul to handle the huge workload heading its way. Much of the spending won’t be delivered this year or even next, and Republicans pointed to studies by the Congressional Budget Office that say that adding so much to the national debt would cost the economy by the end of the decade.
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Image Credit: Inspired Economist