H.R. 1: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
“Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.”
*Disclaimer: This is in NO way a comprehensive list or description of the bill’s contents. If you’re interested in reading the bill in it’s entirety, you can obtain the full text here.

Regurgitated from the Congressional Research Service summary:

Prohibits the use of funds for: (1) casino or other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; or (2) a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron and steel used in the project is domestic, except in certain circumstances.

OVERSIGHT

Requires publication on the website Recovery.gov of: (1) all federal agency plans for using funds made available in this Act, as well as all related grant announcements; and (2) all federal, state, or local agency public notices regarding funds obligated to particular infrastructure investments.

Janeen: Checking recovery.gov once the stimulus is passed could be good fun. I don’t expect as much transparency as is intended in this bill, but I’m hopeful!

JOB CREATION & PRESERVATION

Appropriates funds for: (1) the General Services Administration (GSA) for the Federal Buildings Fund and the acquisition of energy-efficient motor vehicles; and (2) the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small business loan programs. Permits the SBA to guarantee up to 95% of qualifying small business loans made by eligible lenders. Authorizes the SBA to establish: (1) the SBA Secondary Market Lending Authority; and (2) the SBA Secondary Market Guarantee Authority. Authorizes the SBA to refinance: (1) SBA and non-SBA loans made to small businesses; and (2) loans made under the SBA’s local development business loan program. Provides increased SBA loan leverage and investment limits.

Makes supplemental appropriations for FY2009 to: (1) the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); (2) the Department of the Interior; (3) the Environmental Protection Agency; (4) the Department of Agriculture; (5) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); (6) the Smithsonian Institution; (7) the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities; (8) the National Endowment for the Arts; (9) the Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration; and (10) the Department of Health and Human Services.

Allows a new tax credit for investment in recovery zone economic development and recovery zone facility bonds issued in 2009 and 2010.
Janeen: Part of the money will go to getting the government some energy-efficient vehicles. This bill also aims to provide encouragement for the growth of small business through Small Business Administration guaranteed loans and by making SBA refinancing easier. A bunch of money will be given to various government agencies for various purposes that aren’t stated in the summary.
UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families Act – Amends the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.
Health Insurance Assistance for the Unemployed Act of 2009 – Provides for payment of a portion of an individual’s premiums for any COBRA continuation coverage (health insurance continuation benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act).
Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code, and the Public Health Service Act to allow COBRA coverage to continue past required termination dates for an employee who has attained age 55 or has completed ten or more years of service.

Makes additional appropriations for FY2009 to the Secretary of Agriculture to provide a temporary increase in benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Janeen: This bill extends Emergency Unemployment Compensation (not sure of what the details are of this program). People who are buying health insurance from a past employer under COBRA will have a portion of their premiums paid through this bill, as well as lengthening the time allowance certain people can remain on COBRA. This bill provides for a temporary increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Progam benefits. I’m not sure of the details on this. More reduced hot lunches? Meals on Wheels funding?

NATIONWIDE HEALTH INFORMATION

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to invest in the infrastructure necessary to allow for and promote the electronic exchange and use of health information for each individual in the United States, consistent with the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act or the HITECH Act – Amends the Public Health Service Act to establish the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Sets forth provisions governing the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information.
Amends SSA title XVIII (Medicare) to establish incentive payments for certain eligible physicians and hospitals that adopt and use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology meaningfully, beginning in FY2011.
Amends SSA title XIX (Medicaid) to establish incentive payments to encourage the adoption and use by Medicaid providers of qualified electronic health records.
Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program to enhance the meaningful use of certified electronic health records in nursing facilities.
Janeen: A whole lot of money spent to make every American’s health record electronic and to provide a central health information network.
MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES
Gives states the option of providing, during a presumptive eligibility period, Medicaid coverage for family planning services and supplies to individuals who are not pregnant and whose income does not exceed the highest income eligibility level for pregnant women established under the state’s Medicaid or SCHIP programs.
Janeen: Oh, so this is what I’ve been hearing about. I don’t get the “and whose income does not exceed the highest income eligibility level for pregnant women established under the state’s Medicaid or SCHIP programs” part. Does that mean the government is saying, “We really can’t afford for you to get pregnant (’cause you’re poor and we’d have to take care of you), so take this free pill once a month and neither of us will have to worry about it”?
TELECOMMUNICATIONS INVESTMENT
Requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to develop and maintain a map showing where broadband service is deployed and available in each state.
Provides for grants for wireless deployment and broadband deployment.
Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to report on a national broadband plan.
Janeen: This bill encourages increased broadband coverage and planning, and will fund grants for increasing wireless and broadband coverage.
ENERGY INVESTMENT
Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to direct the Secretary of Energy to make loan guarantees for rapid deployment before FY 2012 of renewable energy and electric power transmission projects.
Amends the Energy Conservation and Production Act to increase the income eligibility level for the Weatherization Assistance Program, as well as the maximum amount of financial assistance.
Sets forth conditions for additional grants under the State Energy Program.
Amends the Hoover Power Plant Act of 1984 to authorize the Western Area Power Administration to borrow funds from the Treasury for: (1) new or upgraded electric power transmission lines and related facilities; and (2) the delivery of power generated by renewable energy resources after enactment of this Act.
Extends the tax credit for the production of electricity from wind facilities (through 2012) and from other renewable facilities (through 2013). Allows an election to claim an investment tax credit for renewable facilities placed in service in 2009 or 2010.
Janeen: This bill encourages both conventional and renewable energy investment, through loan guarantees, loans, tax credits, and grants.
EDUCATION
Allows a new tax credit for investment in bonds for the construction, rehabilitation, or repair of public school facilities or for the acquisition of land for building a public school facility.

Makes supplemental appropriations available to the Department of Education for: (1) education of the disadvantaged; (2) impact aid; (3) school improvement programs; (4) innovation and improvement activities; (5) special education; (6) rehabilitation services and disability research; (7) certain student financial assistance programs, as well as federal administrative expenses for such programs; (8) teacher quality partnership grants; (9) the Institute of Education Sciences; and (10) school modernization, renovation, and repair.

Establishes grant programs for the modernization, renovation, and repair of: (1) public elementary and secondary school facilities; and (2) higher education facilities that are primarily used for instruction, research, or student housing.

Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase the amount authorized and appropriated for Pell Grants for FY2009-FY2010.
Increases annual and aggregate student loan limits under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.
Sets the maximum individual Pell Grant amount at $4,860 for award year 2009-2010.
Establishes a State Stabilization Fund which the Secretary of Education is to use to provide grants to states: (1) to restore state funding for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education; (2) to supplement school improvement funds provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; and (3) for public safety and other government services.
Janeen: This bill encourages school building and improvement through tax credits and grants. Also included are increased funding for school programs, Pell Grants, and student loans.
OTHER
Establishes loan limits for calendar 2009 for: (1) the Federal Housing Administration (FHA); (2) the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae); (3) the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac); and (4) the FHA reverse mortgage.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 – Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) allow through 2010 a refundable tax credit for the lesser of 6.2% of earned income or $500 ($1,000 for married couples filing jointly); (2) allow through 2010 increases in the earned income tax credit, the refundable portion of the child tax credit, and the Hope Scholarship tax credit; (3) allow a waiver of the the first-time home buyer tax credit repayment requirement for residences purchased after December 31, 2008, and before July 1, 2009; (4) extend through 2009 bonus depreciation and the increased expensing allowance for depreciable business assets; (5) extend from two to five years the carryback period for net operating losses; and (6) allow a work opportunity tax credit for certain unemployed veterans and disconnected youth hired in 2009 or 2010.
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