February 6th, 2009
09:56 PM ET

What's in the $780 billion stimulus?

Editor's Note: This information came from a source in a Republican Senate office that took part in the negotiations.

Joe Johns
AC360° Correspondent












$13.5 BILLION FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING - This would bring the federal government closer to the promised 40 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for every child in special education. This will help relieve the increasing burden at the local level to cover the rising costs of special education, and allow districts the flexibility to retain support staff and teachers in the classrooms where they are so desperately needed.

$10.4 BILLION FOR TITLE I– The additional investment in Title I is a critical investment towards children in poverty. As more and more children are classified as poor during this economic downturn, this substantial additional investment will help local school districts ensure that their academic needs are being met.








Leading economists have found that targeted aid of this sort will generate increased economic activity of $1.36 for every $1 spent. Moreover, with unemployment up, the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid also rises. Increasing the federal investment in Medicaid will shore up the safety net for those vulnerable families.





$4.4 BILLION FOR SMART GRID to improve the reliability of electricity transmission grid









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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Joe Johns • Raw Politics
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Maureen Steffek

    Why do you broadcast national leaders showing off their ignorance?

    The new head of the RNC doesn't know what a fish passage is, therefore it must be unnecessary pork. The Senate majority leader says that retrofitting government buildings won't create jobs.

    Retrofitting replaces/repairs leaky doors and windows. adds/repairs weather striping and insulation etc. This CREATES construction jobs and uses manufactured goods (hopefully manufactured in the U.S.). After retrofitting the building will use less energy to heat and cool- reducing costs. Isn't that what this bill is supposed to be about?

    Fish passages are structures that allow fish to bypass manmade structures, like dams, to get to spawning grounds (that's where they reproduce). No fish passages, no salmon, no jobs for salmon fishers.

    Maybe the RNC figures salmon (and other picky fish) should just reproduce where they can or suffer the consequences. Unlike fish, rats will reproduce anywhere. Maybe the RNC can develop a policy to take fish off the menus and put rat on. At the rate Washington is moving, we may all be looking for a good rat recipe soon.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  2. denny dunker

    It seem that people have forgot about what happen durning the home prices started to come down. IT WAS THE HIGH PRICE OF GAS.People of the lower mid. class that will spead also, but had three choices to make. one house, personal needs and gas for their cars to go to work with. In willmar people paid for the high price gas and cut down on their other needs. WHY IS THIS NOT REPORTED ON!

    February 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  3. Robert

    If I did the math right I came up with a total of $285 billion for the items you listed. Where is the balance of the $780 billion going??

    February 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Frances G. Rowell

    Is there any place where specifics of everything that's in the stimulus package can be found. I see a number of items listed here but certainly isn't everything. I see no mention of tax cuts for example.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  5. Steve Krueger

    This information is helpful in analyzing the breakdown of the Senate's version of the Stimulus Package. However I believe that it has been reported that 58% of the $780B in the Senate's Stimulus Package, or $452B, is allocated for spending programs and the total of the above analysis is $245B. What comprises the balance of the $207B in proposed spending programs? How does the allocation for spending programs of the House version compare to the Senate version? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  6. John in Wisconsin

    The republicans are right. There is not of spending directed towards new jobs. How can we continue to feed the poor when the rich are broke. I don't care if your a dem or rep. Just make a real Stimulus package that will work.


    February 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  7. Jim

    I would like to know more details directly affecting American households through the proposed Economic Stimulus. Does every household receive $500/$1000 or is it dependent on having worked in a job during 2008? Will it be a direcgt check or a reduction in Social Security payments? What about those with government jobs that don't pay into SS but pay into a different retirement system?

    February 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  8. William (Bill) Donald

    I have just a few thoughts on the matter. Both Republicans and Democrats are extremely irresponsible in this matter. We need action now and not foolish untimely measures placed into our rescue package. History tells us that it is a mixture of tax cuts and spending that will effectively move the economy out of the doldrums. If the President thinks about it, he coud use this occasion to ask thet he be given a line item veto for such times. I tire of these woes and I tire of all the rhetoric aimed at why the President is or is not doing this or that. Where was all of this intelligence when the past administrations were in place? Where were all of the scholars and political heros when we needed them? If they were so advanced then the question should be, what were they doing when it was there turn at the wheel? Oh, I know, they were too busy going with the flow!

    February 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  9. Lavonne from NJ

    Each of these requires people (i.e., jobs!) to implement, or train for. Research & development preceed many projects, bringing white collar jobs, too. Not all jobs will be construction work. Teachers, social workers, support staff go along with many of these items. It's ALL jobs.

    February 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  10. Nancy

    Thank you for posting the specifics that are in the stimulus plan. I'm sorry, but I can find almost no pork in this bill. What have the Republicans been talking about? The bill contains excellent spending for education, energy, security, and infrastructure that we need in the short and long term. CNN should give more time to publicizing the best of this bill and explaining why spending IS stimulus instead of offering so much prime time to Republican partisan politics. Please help the American people understand the economics of spending.

    February 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  11. Michael Miller

    Just curious, since President Obama had stated during his campaign that he wanted to increase the NIH budget, if any money was allocated to NIH as part of the economic stimulus package. Thanks!

    February 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  12. Jim from Massachusetts

    My math could be off but this list of "stimulus" items only adds up to about $364.8 Billion. Still haven't identified about $415.2 Billion? I think people would love to understand how many jobs each item is intended to create or save. Whether those jobs are short term or long term? Whether those jobs are in the public sector (government) or private sector? I think another interesting piece of information would be how much each state is getting by line item. Transparency is a wonderful double edged sword.

    February 7, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  13. Kathy Kizziah

    Does this bill do anything for the seniors or the disabled? I read somewhere where they were going to send a check for $300 to each disabled person or anyone who is on social security. Is this true?

    February 7, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  14. Ron

    I would like a very simple explanation:

    EXACTLY what jobs WILL BE CREATED in EACH OF THE CATEGORIES so as a TAXPAYER I can decide if I should support or oppose? Don't give me categories. I want specifics. Thank you.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  15. Jim

    The GOP is using the excuse of state responsibility for maintaining public schools to do what they always do. That is anything they can to harm the public school system. A perfect example was CSAP testing requirements without proper funding. Now, knowing well that no state in the Union will be capable of maintaining, let alone building and repairing schools after they destroyed the economy with their illegal war, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that sent American jobs over seas to cheap labor markets, they insist the states carry the financial burden of building and repairing schools. This strategy falls perfectly in line with their desire to destroy public schools in favor of the voucher for private school system they have worked long and hard for. Building and repairing schools will in fact create numerous jobs and should be a part of the stimulus package.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  16. Tara Kennedy

    Thanks for putting pell grants on your board last night, Anderson. I'm a single mother and full time student at Penn State.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  17. Patricia Williams

    How much of the pork package is going to democratic states and how much is going to republican states ? and where exactly is the money going to do for those states.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  18. Rick Taylor

    This is an overview, but doesn't really give the voter the transperancy that is required to make an informed decision as to whether or not they like it or not and to inform their respective Senator or Representative.

    Certain things were cut per the CNN website and that alone should scare most people. $5 Billion to keep the politicians warm in the winter and cool in the summer (under the HOUSING category). I believe it was listed as "Energy Efficient Capital buildings". That is CRAZY!!

    February 7, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  19. Tom DeGregorio

    Anderson, what scares me the most about this $780 billion "stimulus" package is where the money is coming from. It is being borrowed (with interest) from Saudi Arabia and China. The Saudi's and Chinese are already the biggest recipients of money from the U.S. in the form of petroleum and manufactured goods to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars which has ballooned the trade deficit. Now we are adding hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money on top of that. They already had a stranglehold on America's energy and manufacturing and now they really got us by the short hairs! America has gone from a rich, powerful nation to a beggar with tin cup in hand. Why isn't anyone talking about this? There isn't anything the hard-line Muslims and Communists want more than to see the collapse of capitalism in the U.S. and by God, we are certainly giving them cause for celebration.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  20. Richard Fife

    The earmarks listed above are not transparent enough. I ,as well as every other LEGAL TAX PAYING AMERICAN deserve to see the PORK that is attached to each earmark listed. From what I can see ,and have read, there is NO stimulus in this package. I think it's time to clean up all this garbage in Congress ,and start representing the PEOPLE the way our Government elected officials are supposed to. How about everyone put aside their personal / political gain and think about what's best for our GREAT COUNTRY?

    February 7, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  21. Charles Ludke

    This is embarassing. There are still sixteen items I counted that don't directly apply to helping the immediate needs of our strugling unemployed. I don't think this is what Pres. Obama had in mind but he may have to move ahead with this flawed plan (with HD earmarks.)in the interests of time.
    Once again; I have doubts about the good sense of our congress. ( I am a registered democrat)

    February 7, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  22. Robert J York

    The major question appears to be this: is the problem micro-economics or macro-economics or both? The large banks made, allowed, and condoned all of the bad debt; so why not let the large banks suffer the economic and market consequences of their actions.
    This present age is very much like a former one: "Kierkegaard's Existentialist just before the Great Depression, in that, feelings of Alienation are presently applied to a wide variety of phenomena including: separation from, and discontent with society; feeling that there is a moral breakdown in society; feelings of powerlessness in the face of the solidity of social institutions; the impersonal, dehumanised nature of large-scale and bureaucratic social organisations.
    As most legislators know, applied Keynesian Economics is an unproven experiment. It 's specific applications have never been experimentally implemented in our present environment .This apparent fact makes it a problematic and real dilemma. The meaning of values has been sucked out of them by a lack of authority. Instead of the authority of the past or other great and lasting voice, we have emptiness and uncertainty.
    Thus, as Existentialists would have it, "action" is ethically more important than any matter of fact. And Truth is found in subjectivity rather than objectivity.

    Robert, retired teacher

    February 7, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  23. Cee

    How does any of this help me get a job?

    February 7, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  24. John

    My question is I heard about tax cuts, tax credit for new car purchase, and first time home buying what happened to these things? Also if they are still there does that count on 2008 Tax return or 2009 Tax return. If 2009 that will not help now!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  25. Robert Stock

    Thanks for the list. It's the best description of the spending side of the bill that I have seen. The problem is that spending on things like education is not the best way to make a quick impact on the slow economy. Also, I suspect that the detailed spending under these categories either doesn't exist, or will turn out to be wasted pork barrel projects or intended for social re-engineering...not economic stimulus. Every project should meet the criteria of being an economic stimulus and have a return on investment analysis completed and audited, BEFORE it is included in the bill. Urgency is no excuse for lack of correct process or thoughtlessness. The fastest way to fix a problem is to get the solution right the first time!!!

    The best way to quickly stimulate the economy is to let the citizens keep their own money via immediate tax cuts and rebates, and let them spend it in the economy for themselves. Don't change anything else! When the governent keeps and spends our tax dollars, no one is responsible to spend them wisely and corruption prevails. Beware, some of our politicians are corrupt idiots just trying to socially rebuild the nation in their vision.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  26. Mark Aurich

    Are you kidding? There is still so much money that is going to be wasted. Go back to the drawing board!! How about givng a2% reduction on mortgage rates across the board (small or large) home owners would benift! Back it with TARP money to the mortage companies. That would provide the cash flow they need to start lending. It would also be an immediate reduction on homeowners expenses. There is far to much money tied up in transportation it is just spread out under numorus titles. Low cost health care could be provided by quality Drs. If we went to neighborhood haelth clinics staffed by physicians donating their time, maybe 4 hours a week in return for tax credit at the end of the year. This is done in our courts providing frre legal counsel to those who can't afford it. There are plenty of empty store fronts available that could be used. Don't look at short term jobs that although create short term jobs, just postpone dealing with the problem. Our congressmen and women need to get off ther personal agendas. Drop the money that they are trying to get for their local constituients and lok at what is best for the country as a whole. What is going to help the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. When President Obama campaigned he accused Republicans of using scare tactics to get votes. Has he heard is own speeches. Slow down! Step back, and use some rationale. Please, don't settle for a quick fix that doesn't solve the problem!!

    February 7, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  27. KJ

    Great! So the government thinks that taking $780 billion dollars out of taxpayers pockets will stimulate the economy. Yea right.

    I can't afford groceries and rent, how am I going to afford the governments spending plan? Exactly who out there doesn't realize that this big spending craze is coming from the taxpayers pocket?

    Have they totally lost their minds?

    February 7, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  28. Dave

    This is not a great bill.But it is the best that we can hope for.Last years solution was to mail out rebate checks so people could spend.Yea,so how did that work out??!!Republicans in the senate voted 36 to 5 on the McCain amendment to have the stimulus package of 100% tax cuts.People will simply pay debts and save the money just like last year! Kudos for Susan Collins and Olympia Snow! They seem to be the only moderate republicans in the senate.To bad other states don't have such a tandom of senators. *Dave

    February 7, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  29. David Moore

    Almost every item on this list is an investment. More economic activity is going to be created for every dollar of stimulus in the short run and assets that will continue to generate an economic return (infrastructure, education, healthier workers) in the long run are also created.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  30. Mark Long

    Still looks like a pork bill to me. Why is 76.8 billion in Education Funding doing here including – 39 billion in state fiscal relief for education, 13 billion in Pell Grants, 13.5 billion in special education funding, 10.1 in Title I. This is a stimulus package not an education bill.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  31. Lisa

    Where is the money for the people in the stimulus package. All I've seen is money for things that we dont need. The main thing is to get people working again and out of the unemployment line.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  32. jim ragnoni

    i would like to know if they dropped the money going to the unions for their support.also if they dropped the money going to acorn for their wonderful support in padding the voters box.i thought that both of these were in the package.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  33. Robert Blancett

    If my math is correct, the above expenditures total less than $300 billion which is a minority of the spending. Where is the major of spending allocated??

    February 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  34. Steve H

    This pork package is the single biggest waste of money this country has ever seen. I looked over the list and am trying to find a single dollar that would find the average middle class couple. Why are the drones out there so focused on this piece of...er, ... crap when a very simple plan proposed by the other side, i.e., a government backed 4% refinance rate for any qualified homeowner or new buyer. Now THAT would stimulate my wallet !! Banks would be flooded with refi applications (good), home sales increase (good), and the average homeowner has a higher disposable income (estimated on average to be ~$450 per month) FOR THE LIFE OF THE LOAN to purchase goods.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  35. Indy

    That's only 364.8 billion; wheres the rest going?

    February 7, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  36. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    What's in the stimulus? Very little in the short-term to help a struggling private sector and lots of spending for governmental wants to make the Obama administration look good in the long-term at the expense of people who can't feed their kids on a daily basis. Throw those billions we don't have anyway at everyday Americas. We can stimulate the economy by purchasing and turning this around. Kudos to senators with a functioning brain like Vitter and McCain who see this package for the joke that it is. When people feel safe spending and banks feel safe lending, then things will turn around. Government throwing billions away at their projects to appease this new president does nothing to make anyone feel safe. Except for those who want a socialist state. Because man, does this stimulus package reek of America going there fast.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  37. Joe Yana

    We need this done quckly!!. Some of the junk has baeen removed but the Republicans srill don't get it. Supply Side economics is a flawed philosophy. The Laffer Curve should be called th Laugher Curve. By holding it up for their mindless philosophical rantins, they have caused potential harm to the country.

    This plan is still too small. Most of the economists in the know are saying that at least $1.5 trillion in stimulus is needed to result in sustained growth the both give the economy a pop and to keep it going. More infrastrucure spending and energy overhaul spending is needed. While this bill will give us a start, I suspect that we will be talking about a supplemental stimulus bill in a year or so.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  38. david pica

    Did the morons put in the15,000 dollar tax credit for the purchase of a home or the credit on the purchase of a car? There are plenty of us who are not hurting yet that would make purchases if not fot the fact that we are scared to death. A little incentive would be nice. Take some more of the crap out of the bill and put this in!! There is plenty in there that is a waste.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  39. E Pezzano

    I see no mention of help for medical insurance cost for seniors in this bill. Many presidents in the past created jobs for legal citizens in this country by deporting illegal aliens who have taken so many of our jobs. Why not approach unemployment in that way it would create millions of jobs take the burden off of our welfare system and social security and help the American people who deserve the help now.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  40. Gail Doyle

    How is the stimulus package going to help people who are losing their houses?

    February 7, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  41. Tim

    What about funding for the NIH? Spector & Harkins had increased from 3.5 to a total of 10 billion. Did that increase stand in the final Senate version? Thanks.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  42. elizabeth

    where is the help for all Americans who lost money in their 401K and retirement funds due to the lack of judgenment of Wall Street. This bill seems to me be all the special interest projects of the
    Republicans and Democrats, and not in the best interest of the American people. Give the money to the people and let us SPEND our money the way we want. You gave money to BANKS and Wall Street and they just thumbed their noses at the Government and did as they damn well pleased. More needs to be cut from this Stimulus Package. There is no need to rush, People have been hurting since September, and nothng has been done in almost 6 months.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  43. Lou

    Hi. What about money to extend unemployment weekly benefits and also money for extending health care for those who have lost their jobs?

    February 7, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  44. Rebecca

    Ok, so I've been unemployed since April of 2008. I was an employment recruiter. You can imagine, in this economy, my position is no longer needed. I have applied everywhere, from Fast Food Chains, to Gas Station Clerk. I've been told I am either over qualified, or there are hundreds of applications ahead of mine.
    My Benefits are about to run out. And no one can seem to clarify whether this stimulus package will help me or not. There is talk of extending benefits through the end of 2009. But does that mean the time you can apply for say, the second extention, or does that mean if your benefits have run out (including the emergancy extentions) that you're able to recieve yet another extention, helping you through the end of the year?
    Please, if someone would be so kind as to explain this to me, I would be eternally grateful. I am a single mother of a beautiful little girl. Without these extended benefits, we would have lost our home already. As it is, we're barely making it monthly, on what little is offered through the benefit program. As little as it is however, I feel blessed that we've made it this far.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  45. Martin J. Stab, Sr.

    Please vote NO on this bill and let the chips fall where they may. The economy will correct itself in time and by the bill's passage the Federal Government will only delay the recovery because of it's incompetent and wasteful interference. We don't need our deficit to grow to such an astronomical level.

    A no vote is for Capitalism...the part of our society that creates jobs.

    Thank you.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  46. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    I can tell you one thing for sure. There is going to be a lot of work for the Construction folks I find work for. I can already see signs of contract work picking up even before this money hits the streets. Seems like some of my clients are starting to feel a bit better about starting those projects they have had on hold for so long.Thats going to be a lot of money on Main Street folks instead of in off shore bank accounts and building COMMUNIST Chinese factories and in sustaining COMMUNIST Chinese and SOCIALIST Indian slave laborers. Money on Main Street is what I call STIMULOUS People regrdless of what those neo-con IDIOTS have been saying. It's NOT G W Bush tax cuts for the CEOs that use foreign labor and the already extremely wealthy who do nothing more than pump US Dollars into offshore bank accounts and foreign villas that create GOOD PAYING JOBs right here. That a PROVEN FACT. We have lost more jobs than G W Bush's 'tax cuts' have supposedly created. Bottom line is that tax cuts NOT SPENT HERE DO NOT CREATE WEALTH FOR THE UNITED STATES. They only give the COMMUNIST Chinese and the SOCILAIST Indians more of ours. Another name fo rthat BTW just happens to be REDISTRIBUTION. Looks like the Republicans have the shoe on the wrong foot when it comes to talking about REDISTRIBUTION FOLKS ! You know if Joe the Plumber actually had even half a Brain he'd realize this as well !!!!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  47. Steve

    What would happen if each taxpayer from 2008 would receive a debit card worth $8000 that would expire in 4 months if it is not used? It could not be used for saving and it could not be used for bills. Don't you think this would stimulate the economy?

    February 7, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  48. Scott

    I would like to see a complete breakdown of the money. I only see about $250 billion in the programs listed.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  49. Terry

    This piece of pork, earmarks, campaign promises fulfilled is a joke. We have just been Blagovich-ed but with an "F".

    Dorothy…Close your eyes, click your heels together twice and say "there's no place like Illinois…there's no place like Illinois"

    February 7, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  50. scott spangrud

    I like the itemized list, but where's the rest? The numbers you provided doesn't come close to $780 billion. Is the remaining amounts the pork portion?

    February 7, 2009 at 9:07 am |
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