The Stimulus Act – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

When President Obama took office he was handed an economy in ruins.

•    The county was losing about 750,000 jobs each month.
•    Home prices were plummeting by as much as 30 percent.
•    Families across America watched as their savings and retirement plans evaporated overnight. 

I supported the Recovery Act that passed in 2009.  That legislation has gone a long way to help steady America’s economy. Estimates show that the legislation has saved or created more than 2 million jobs nationwide and has prevented millions of Americans from falling into poverty.

In Washington State alone, the Recovery Act:

• Helped produce more than 14,000 jobs. 
• Helped more than 450,000 people receive expanded unemployment benefits while they look for new work. More than 67,000 new students will now benefit from federal college tax credits.
• An estimated 268,000 children will benefit from provisions in the Recovery Act for expanded child tax credits.
• In the Seattle area, approximately 274,000 families received a tax cut because of the Making Work Pay Tax Credit in the Recovery Act.

Last year, the Ways and Means Subcommittee that I chair, the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, accounted for the largest single committee appropriation request ($45 billion) included in the economic stimulus bill passed by Congress.  Those appropriations went directly into the national economy in support of people in need. The Recovery Act is doing exactly what it was designed to do: bring the nation back from the brink of total financial collapse.

Wall Street Bonuses

During the eight years of the Bush Administration, Wall Street was encouraged to pursue business practices that put our country on the brink of financial ruin.  Wall Street lobbyists descended on Washington D.C. by the busloads, trying to cut deals to sweeten the pot for their clients.

Because of the excesses of Wall Street and their complex derivatives and mathematical formulas that were used to create financial products that can best be described in a single phrase – a house of cards – the American people are asked to make enormous sacrifices.

Even today, as if to add insult to all to all the American families where the husband and wife work 2, 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet, to all the single moms and dads who play by the rules, Wall Street has continued its practice of awarding billions of dollars in bonuses.

Enough is enough.  For starters, I am one of the cosponsors of a bill to tax Wall Street bonuses.  It’s a bill that would place a tax on all bonus compensation in excess of $50,000, including cash and stock.