Courtesy of Greg Kaufmann:
“There are three Republicans in the Senate who are writing this policy,” Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio complained about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “They are more powerful than the president of the United States and the Congress combined.”
The bill finally passed in the Senate on Friday night when Sen. Sherrod Brown flew in after his mother’s memorial service to cast the needed 60th vote. So what exactly did Sen. Collins deign to allow in it?
For a look at all spending items, click here. Some notable provisions: $90 billion added to Medicaid funding; state aid is $54 billion; $7 billion in broadband investment including rural and poor areas; $13 billion towards public housing; $20 billion for electronic medical records; $5 billion for weatherization; $500 million for green jobs training; $11 billion for the energy grid; $6.3 billion for state energy programs; $4.5 billion for green renovation of federal buildings; $4 billion in renewable energy loan guarantees; $100 billion in new funding for education — including $17 billion to Pell grants; $2.1 billion for Head Start; $20 billion increase for food stamps; $50 billion for transportation, including $9 billion for Amtrak/high-speed rail; $2 billion for affordable community health centers.
Treasury Secretary Geithner made his big debut… and was panned. His description of the new and improved TARP plan was short on details and long on wind. Some chief complaints: how will the Administration get private investors to purchase $1 trillion of these impossible to price toxic assets from banks? Also, no details still on the $50 billion plan for foreclosure relief. Rep. Barney Frank said it’s taking too long and he’s concerned that $50 billion won’t cut it. At a Budget Committee hearing Senate Senator Bernie Sanders asked Geithner why the Wall Street execs receiving the bailout funds aren’t being replaced with new leadership instead of receiving bonuses?
Frank also held a hearing with eight bank CEOs to find out what they did with $165 billion in TARP loot. The machers basically said they were doing exactly what they are supposed to do (see Sanders above). Frank asked them to cease foreclosures for three weeks until Geithner announces the new plan — Friday JP Morgan Chase sent him a letter saying they would.