The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, currently being debated in the Senate, was passed last week by the House of Representatives. If enacted, the economic recovery plan will be one of the biggest and boldest pieces of progressive legislation in the past forty years.
Bernie Horn has summarized some of the highlights at OurFuture.org:
**$142 billion for a middle-class tax cut
**$47 billion to extend unemployment benefits
**$16 billion to expand food stamps
**$17 billion in one-time payments to low-income Americans
**$26 billion to expand access to health care
**$87 billion to help states pay for Medicaid
**$24 billion to modernized health information technology
**$46 billion to fix bridges and roads
**$80 billion to improve public education
**$19 billion for school construction
**$14 billion to make college more affordable
**$32 billion for clean energy
There’s much more. All together, the Obama plan is expected to create or salvage three to four million jobs while keeping the nation’s economy from sliding into a lengthier and more severe recession than what we’re currently facing.
The legislation is a big priority of President Obama, who devoted his radio address last Sunday to making the case for prompt passage of the bill. All major liberal non-profit and labor groups are supporting it and several recent polls suggest that a plurality of the American public are generally supportive.
Nonetheless, as Horn reports, “Here in Washington, DC, the word on the street is that the Right is killing us with phone calls to Congress. One congressperson said the calls are running 100 to 1 against the Obama economic recovery plan. The legislation is now on the Senate floor. If Senators perceive that Americans side with Obama in this fight, that will strengthen the power of progressives in the debate and we’ll get a good bill. If, on the other hand, Senators are feeling the heat from conservatives, then our advocates will be weakened and we’ll get a lousy bill. That’s just the way things go on Capitol Hill.”
As the invaluable Fact-esque blog wrote yesterday “This is the Superbowl of Activism and We’re Losing Big.” Progressives need to hit the phones and fast. Call your Senators toll-free at 1-866-544-7573 and demand immediate passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.