Congress Close to Final Stimulus Plan
A CSG Washington, D.C., Staff Report
Congress is expected to give its final approval soon for the compromise stimulus package hammered out this week in a House-Senate conference committee.
Following weeks of debate and political maneuvering, Congressional leaders Wednesday announced an agreement on the $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), which has yet to be released to the public.
The final compromise appears to pare back many of the more ambitious provisions contained in the House package, including a $79 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, while also providing funding levels above the U.S. Senate legislation.
The conference agreement now moves back to the House and Senate for final approval, possibly reaching President Barack Obama’s desk as early as Saturday.
The wide-ranging recovery package includes significant investments in renewable energy infrastructure and health care, tax incentives and credits for individuals and businesses, funding for ready-to-go infrastructure projects, and aid to state and local governments. Included in the package is approximately $87 billion in temporary increases in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which translates into a 6.2 percent across-the-board increase to all states, in addition to providing bonus payments to states based on unemployment rates.
The compromise is also expected to include approximately $54 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, including $40 billion aimed at preventing layoffs at local schools and for school modernization; $5 billion to states as bonus grants for meeting certain performance measures in education; and $8 billion in flexible funds to states for other high priority needs.