CNN reports on the “winners and losers” of the final stimulus bill being voted on by the Senate today. Information taken from:
# High-speed and inner-city rail: Went from $300 million in House bill to $2.25 billion in Senate to $8 billion in final version. There also is a $6.9 billion provision for public transit.
# Amtrak: Picked up $500 million from both House and Senate versions to total $1.3 billion. The bill stipulates that no more than 60 percent can go to the Northeast Corridor.
# National Institutes of Health: Ends up with $10 billion in the final bill. The House proposed $3.5 billion and the Senate wanted $10 billion — $8.2 billion goes to the NIH director for his discretion.
# Government oversight: Board to oversee stimulus bill spending will get $84 million to do the job. House bill allocated $14 million while the Senate bill called for $7 million. There is also more than $100 million more for various inspectors general in different agencies.
# NASA: Banked just more than $2 billion, including $400,000 for science/global-warming research.
This is nice, but what about the losers??
# Veterans: Nearly all items for Veterans Affairs were reduced and the $2 billion the Senate wanted for VA construction was wiped out altogether. The VA did get one thing: $1 billion for medical facilities renovation and retooling.
# Military construction: Cut and put into a general pot, a change from targeted money for each branch of the services. Army construction alone went from $600 million in the Senate and $900 million in the House to $180 million in the final bill. But negotiators compromised over a general military construction fund — the House wanted $3.75 billion while the Senate allocated $118 million and settled on $1.45 billion for all services.
# FBI: Senate had allocated $475 million but all was cut out of final bill.
Now I guess that the VA, and care for veterans (which I am one) does not produce enough jobs… I also suppose construction on military installations also do not create enough jobs… even though many military buildings worldwide, but especially within the United States are in terrible condition. For instance, the barracks that I lived in when I was in the Marine Corps and Stationed on Camp Lejeune, NC ( 2000 – 2005 ) were practically already condemned. So I suppose it is not important to ensure that the people who are defending this country receive updated facilities.
Now, the FBI, I do not know where the money would have gone, but the FBI is one of the leading agencies heading the fight against terrorism in this country, pretty sure they could use some money, but then again, I guess it would not create any new jobs.
However, we can all rest easy, the Pandemic Flu Research was able to squeeze in some money in the bill… so we shouldn’t have a flu plague. That is a relief. And though I fully support NASA, could the money given to them be used in a better area? I mean, people cannot afford houses on this planet, much less on the Moon or Mars. There is also money going to foreclosure stabilization and homelessness prevention… which I can also see going hand in hand.
Lastly, my favorite one is the money going into the oversight of all of this… it is ironic that it is going to cost (at least) $84 million, plus another $100 million more just to OVERSEE this how process.