Crowley Praises Swift Passage of Comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan by House Ways and Means Committee

January 22, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C.House Ways and Means Committee Member Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) praised the committee’s passage of The American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (H.R. 598). This critical legislation will quickly infuse needed relief into our nation’s economy.  Specifically, it will provide $300 billion in tax incentives and investments for American workers and businesses with the goal of putting Americans back to work. 

“This plan is all about jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Congressman Joseph Crowley.  “With the economy in a downward spiral, Americans cannot afford inaction or partisanship.  These investments will put Americans back to work, cut taxes for middle-class families, renovate our nation's crumbling infrastructure and invest in our most important commodity - our citizens.  America is home to the best and the brightest, and by working together we can get our economy back on track now and for our children.”

The full House of Representatives is expected to pass this $300 billion investment next Wednesday as part of a larger $850 billion economic recovery package requested by President Obama.  The package will create an estimated 3 million new jobs.

Crowley continued, “My constituents in Queens and the Bronx are hurting like many across the United States, and our greatest responsibility as their representatives in Congress is to help them through this crisis.  I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee to pass this comprehensive economic recovery plan, and I look forward to continuing to work together – Democrats and Republicans alike – to get this legislation to President Obama quickly.”

Highlights of The American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan

 

PROVIDING RELIEF TO INDIVIDUALS

·        “Making Work Pay”: The “Making Work Pay” Tax Credit will cut taxes for more than 95% of working families in the United States, by providing an immediate, direct tax refund to families through a reduction in income tax withholding in their paychecks. Families earning up to $150,000 will see a tax cut of $1,000 this year.

·        Providing Critical Assistance to the Unemployed: The Plan would extend unemployment insurance benefits through the end of 2009 and increase the benefit by $25/week.  The extension would provide critical assistance to approximately 3 million people through 2009, while the benefit increase will help nearly 20 million unemployed workers. Additionally the provision encourages modernization of the unemployment insurance system helping states to implement the program more efficiently and cover more workers.

·        Protecting Working Families:  The Plan would provide critical tax relief to hardworking yet poor families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families with children; EITC delivered  almost $300 million in direct tax  benefits in 2006 to working families in Congressman Crowley's district in Queens and the Bronx

·        Providing Relief for Millions of Families with Children: The Plan would temporarily increase the child tax credit for working poor families, allowing millions of additional families to get tax relief.

·        Assisting Low-Income Elderly and Disabled:  Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) would receive a one-time additional payment to help them make ends meet during the economic downturn.

·        Restore Federal funding for Child Support Enforcement: Helps States collect child support owed to struggling families.

·        Strengthen Housing Market:  The Plan provides a $7,500 tax credit for first-time buyers to purchase homes between January 1, 2009 – June 30, 2009. 

REINVIGORATING OUR ECONOMY

Help American Businesses Invest and Create New Jobs:

·         Bonus Depreciation: the Plan helps businesses recover the costs of capital expenditures more quickly, which encourages them to invest in new equipment such as computers for offices, kitchen goods for restaurants, new cash registers for bodegas

·         Small business expensing:  the Plan helps small businesses quickly recover costs of purchasing new equipment all at once, encouraging companies to invest in new equipment or renovations this year. 

·         5-year NOL carryback: the Plan helps businesses increase current capital flows by allowing normally successful businesses who are temporarily suffering to amend their tax liabilities back 5 years to provide companies a new infusion of cash, and retain jobs.

INVESTING IN HUMAN CAPITOL

·         Investing in Education: The Plan would help make college more affordable for parents through a new “American Opportunity” tax credit of up to $2,500 a year for cost of tuition and related expenses like books and laptop computers

·         Creates a New Tax Incentive for Domestic Research to ensure that the next Albert Einstein hails from the USA, the package provides new incentives for businesses to invest in human capitol and develop the new green sources of energy in America

·         Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC): the Plan includes incentives to hire recently discharged, unemployed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as disconnected youth

WORKING TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE

·         COBRA Healthcare for the Unemployed:  Provides temporary subsidies for health insurance for those who have lost their jobs between September 1, 2008 – December 31, 2009.  The bill also extends the availability of unsubsidized COBRA coverage for older and tenured workers beyond the 18 months provided under current law. 

·         Lower Healthcare Costs through Modernizing Health Information Technology:  The legislation will cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help reduce healthcare costs by establishing standards, payment incentives and privacy protections to encourage the widespread adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT). 

·         Lowering the long term costs of health care for American families: by mandating the modernization and streamlining of health information,  we will lower health care premiums for family health coverage  which  have almost doubled in the past 8 years

REBUILDING AMERICA

·         Assistance to State and Local Governments: Provides direct assistance to governments to help them free up funding for local infrastructure projects to improve our roads, schools and bridges while also creating good-paying jobs. 

·         Improving America’s Aging Schools: The Plan would include $11 billion in annual bond-financing programs for school construction, repair, and rehabilitation to make critical improvements to school facilities and promote a safe, clean and modern learning environment for our kids.

·         Assistance to Distressed Areas:  Provide tax-exempt bonds and tax credit bonds to establish “recovery zones,” areas within a State, city or county that has exhibited high unemployment, foreclosures, poverty or general distress.  These bonds would be allocated directly to States and large municipal governments based on the number of unemployed individuals within that area. New York City could see over $125 million this year in new investment through this bond incentive program to provide the job creation and economic recovery needed.

INVESTING IN ENERGY

·         Long-term Investments in Renewable Energy Production:  Extends for three years the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy and other renewable sources to help create green jobs, reduce our dependency on foreign oil and close down power plant alley for good.

·         Think Globally, Act Locally: Provides greater tax incentives for individuals to make their homes more energy efficient - saving money and our planet at the same time.