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. Q.

    I have notice the GOP only care about the rich; they are trying to push there agenda for the wealthy. If I was a millionaire, I would enjoy all the tax cuts I can get. I just assume the wealthy had a tax with the Bush stimulus package (wasn’t that supposed to have create jobs for middle class America. The rich just took the money and ran; lay off the middle class). If you are going to have tax cut it should be for the middle class. Middle class Americans are just searching for work so they can take care of there families; did the GOP get the memo. We already gave to the rich (Bush stimulus package; focus on middle class Americans please GOP). Anything is worth a shot. The GOP does not care about middle class America (how many times I have to say it). How can you make changes and not agree with the changes you made (GOP is just making excuses so they wouldn’t have to give to the middle class Americans). My question is when it comes to giving back to the middle class, why isn’t the GOP on board with that? They are only on board when it comes to giving to the rich (Wall Street, Bush stimulus package). They only come together when President Obama wanted to giving back to the middle class. For the past eight years we gave back to the rich and see what happen.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  2. Gwendolyn Stewart Jeffery

    I am writing about the stimulus deal. What about individuals like myself whom are widowers with several mortgages? I have had three homes forclosed since my husband's death, and in the process of having the home that my children and I reside in to foreclose. What about the bail out for me? I tried to refinace the mortgages, but I was told that due to the prior foreclosures that I cannot. How am I to keep my home? The banks received billions for top executives but no bank will assist me. I am a tax payer as well. Who is going to help me? What am I to do? Your prompt answers and or solutions are greatly appreciated. Or is this another ploy to give the rich and take from hard worker like myself.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  3. Linda

    There is so much "pork" in this package. Remember our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for this. I feel bad for the people that are out of jobs, but we can get ourselves out of this mess by getting tax cuts. You can not just create jobs that are not needed. Where does that money come from? All the pork in the stimulus package is only helping the Democrats. They are giving money to the unions and the other people that got them elected. WAKE UP AMERICA...we are on our way to becoming a socialist country at this rate. It has not worked in any other country. One lady said that she would have died had she not come to the US for her surgery. You have to wait too long in Canada, who has a national health plan. I know for a fact that you can wait 6 months to 2 years to have surgery because I have a friend whose whole family lives in Canada. If that is the only way a person can get insurance, than give it to them; but do NOT force the people who are insured go national. I want a choice in my doctors because you need to trust them.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Lisa

    I personally think that this money would be better spent , if they gave every american citizen the money and Let US stimulate the economy.
    I know I would buy a car I desperatly need, pay off my credit cards, pay off any loan I may have, and buy things that I would like to have but cant afford.. That would stimulate the economy, State would get more tax dollars, manufacters would open back up due to people spending, banks would get the money they have put out for loans and credit cards, People would travel, buy gas, hotels, food, ect....
    Small bussiness would see incresses too, I know some families would do home repairs and upgrades. Everyone would be a winner.... And there would be no PORK spending.....

    February 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  5. sharon l

    This plan is a disgrace. There should not have been a bailout and we do not need to waste more of our money, our children's money with a stimulus plan. When businesses fail there will be other people who are more fiscally sound to step in ad buy them, rearrange them and continue. This is call capitalism! Did you ever wonder why we are a great country at such an early age as compared to the rest of the world? It is called a free market, supply and demand, entrepreneurism; capitalism at work. Just leave us alone, and let it work itself out. The mortgage situation was caused by the Government forcing the lenders to lend money to people who could not pay the money back. But "we must be fair... everybody should have a right to own a home". Well make them work for the home. don't just qualify THEM Because the government makes us do it. This is just one example of BIG government and we don't need it nor want it. so NO Stimulas!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  6. Earl

    Looks good to me. Obama needs to make sure that this money does not end up in the hands of the greedy, unamerican that led us down this path. Oh, yeh. American is a democratic country, not a capitalistic one. Capitalism is the benificiary of a free society, not the other way around. Period.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  7. Patrick

    I can picture the spending bill creating jobs. I am unemployed veteran and even though I can not see how exactly it would help me personally, I can see the over all good of it. It is not all about me, some people forget about that. We tried Bush for 8 years and most of that was under a Republican control congress. Let give the other party a chance.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  8. Fred Maxwell

    We need about $50B for Small Business Administration loans to be given with relaxed credit and collateral rules.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  9. Robert

    In previous elections some Republicans went though great lengths to question the patriotism of Democratic candidates, and as a result some lost elections as people questioned their honor.
    Now, we have a situation in which the country is in crisis and the President has said we are facing "catastrophe" unless we pass an economic stimulus package. In the House, no Republicans voted for the bill, and in the Senate only three Republicans supported the bill. Many Republicans will only change their vote if the bill contains either all tax cuts or mostly tax cuts, even though this point of view has been discredited by experience and by some of the most recognized economists in the country.
    I thought in times of crisis we, Democrats and Republicans, are supposed to put partisan differences aside and join together for the good of the country. Obviously, the Republicans are unable to think beyond their selfish interests,. So I ask you. Who is being unpatriotic
    in this latest crisis to befall the American Republic?

    February 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Anderson, Jason

    President Obama is heading in the right direction...Hes is doing everything he promised so far...I love that fact that he passed a bill to stop these CEO's paying themselves millions of our tax dallards to re-model offices..He passed a very important bill to protect fair pay for women...I recently also pass a bill that will extend childrens health care...I really belive he is a great man....and so far has earn my respect..A republican


    February 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  11. James Lookretis

    now that all the executives have jobs assured...where's our manufacturing jobs in electronics like TV"S< then to sub companies in AUTO"S<<<< onto paper industries onto,,,,food companies like smithfield ..etc,,,where a re public works programs in all cities to reduce the 7 to 4% unemployment....Isn"t it nice the rectums all kissed themselves in The Senate

    February 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  12. Marie

    This looks VERY DISAPPOINTING.... First, it doesn't add up to the total – where is the BULK of the money going??? Second, this doesn't look too promising for creation of jobs – especially for those of us who happen to be female & over the age of 45. Third, healthcare for adults? Anything to bridge the gap between eligibility for medicaid and medicare (you currently have to be disabled for 2 years before you can get health care through medicare) – adult cancer patient????

    I THINK MAYBE WE/THEY SHOULD START OVER.... tax cuts should be a low priority – they haven't helped the majority of Americans for the last 8 years!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  13. WH Clark

    This is a jobs program for everybody but Americans. Take construction jobs, for example. I am a licensed Professional Engineer experienced in construction of all types....

    Engineers here on special high tech work visas will design the projects. The draftsmen will be overseas drawing up the plans on AutoCAD. The workers will be illegal immigrants using fake ID cards. The materials like cement and steel will be imported from Mexico or Japan. The motors and heavy equipment will be Made in China.

    Most of the roads in cities will end up being toll roads. So, for generations to come, the American consumer will be paying for everything – in the $200 billion annual interest charge for this bill + the toll road fees + unemployment insurance for all the illegal and foreign workers once the money is spent.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  14. lou

    Does ACORN and others alike still get the $4.19 billion? Obviously a "thankyou" gift by Obama and the Dem's for helping in the election......that ought to stimulate alot of jobs huh?

    This is a sickening pork barrel spending plan. This should ONLY be for stimulus causes. Take up the other stuff later.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  15. Steve Brock

    is there an internet site where the public can see a detail description, even a high-level description of the Stimulus package by item, detail and cost? If we could all look at the same data tha would help the discussion.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  16. tricia

    what do we need tax cuts for if nobody has a job!!?? We need money to get jobs going first-then maybe we'll need tax cuts!!

    February 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  17. Robert McGee

    It all sounds pretty porky. I don't think this is going to stimulate our economy. In fact it looks like someone from wall street wrote it. Pork projects, money unaccounted for, bad investments, ineffective stategies. Yep if these guys ever get tired of government they will fit right in on wall st. First of all they need to adjust our trade policies(the only people afraid of a trade war are the people who are bribing our leaders cause they know they will lose). Then invest in United States businessand companies. They took a great provision out for trading in a used car on a new american made car because foreign special interest was whining. Gee, I was'nt aware we were trying to stimulate the korean economy!!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  18. Patrick from Bäle

    It should be obvious, but apparently it isn't, that the underlying problem fueling this crisis is really the unrecognized role and importance of the working class in society. Just observe who is suffering the most and reacting the loudest–the workers in almost every country. This should tell us something and help us to question how society recognizes and determines labor's place in society. Perhaps, failure to redress their grievences with the best minds and best principled intentions and intuitions will almost insure that no amount of money or tax relief, or bail-out insentives will provide enough purpose and stability for workers the world-over to shoulder us out of this crisis. Perhaps it could be put into the form of a question, what is more important for the future stability and progress of society, money or human labor? The most principled and intuitive answer to this question will more than likely determine our future stability and progress.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  19. Nihal

    I understand that the Republican party feels hurt that the main street public has lost confidence in their ideology. However, the Republicans need to think progressive as opposed to feeling vengeful. Main street's perspective is that the Republicans do not want to give this method a chance and would rather watch the country further decline with unemployment encroaching double digit. It will be harder for our nation to recover when one side does not wish to pick up the shovel and would rather stand by and criticize.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  20. dinnylou

    I have heard that there will a one-time $300 to each person who receives the Social Security benefit.
    Is this correct?
    Is it still in the 780 Billion Surplus?

    HOPE SO.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  21. Ken Pyle

    I like the infrastructure and transportation part.
    BTW: The National Science part is looking to the future.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  22. Jim,California

    Whats in the Stimulas you ask?- PORK,PORK,PORK!
    You want to stimulate the economy give the money to those of us who need a hand up so we can pay off our debts, pay our bills ahead a couple of years which I could easily do with $10,000.00 this in turn helps those pay their bills, put food on their tables. You want to give my money to Corperations – fine – they get the same treatment they have given me-
    Uncle Sam can pay me 21% interest & they can send me a check each month until the debt is paid if they miss a few payments I get their house, car,real estate – which I'll turn around & sell for pennies on the Dollar, Make a huge profit & I can live the rest of my life in peace & comfort.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  23. Sarah Y.

    This is a worst than useless list at the moment, since it only lists a small fraction of the entire package. Judging by some of the comments, its only creating confusion right now.

    The stimulus plan currently on the table contains over 40% in tax cuts for small businesses, middle class families, new home buyers, and car buyers, yet none of those are listed here!

    As a responsible news organization, please either put up a full summary of the plan, or pull this entirely.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  24. Adam

    Mr. Johns,

    Is the COBRA subsidy not in the bill anymore? That was the piece that I am personally counting on the most.


    Boston, MA

    February 7, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  25. Kim

    Looks like a huge spending bill on favorite projects. These should be evaluated separately from the Stimulus package to determine if we should spend the money on them. We need tax reductions for corporations. We have on of the highest tax rates on companies in the world. Due to the high rates, we are not competitive in the world market. If we cut the rates, the companies might be able to afford to keep more people employed. We should also cut capital gains taxes to encourage investment and possibly give tax deductions for savings.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  26. Pete Wayner

    Why not fix our broadband connections so you can get connected anywhere with less cost.? The cost to get online is getting prohibitive, and frustrating to get on somewhere wireless. If we spent just a portion of this to enable broadband anywhere, for a reasonable price, just think of the efficiencies we would receive. Instead of having to pay for slow broadband connections that are extremely slow, we could connect anywhere at a reasonable connection fee. I'm afraid the telephone company lobbyists are way too powerful.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm |

    Did anyone else catch President Obama's comment on jobs??
    He said "SAVE" or create about 3 million. So, what is it, Create or
    SAVE???? What about all the job loses that have happened already?
    Are they just lost?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  28. Sandra

    We need help with our home payments. I thought they were going to lower everyones interest rates. OMG! When are they going to get it together and do it right? Our schools are in bad condition, teachers are being laid off and our children the ones that will suffer. I wish they would stop arguing and do something fast. We need people to get back to work. Fire those bank executives that took advantage of the first bank bail outs. They were quick to give money bail outs to those bank executives, but are upset about bailing out our schools, jobs.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  29. Sonia

    Stimulus Bill – I'm very disappointed that I voted for President Obama,
    he is allowing all his democratic cohorts to add too much PORK into this bill. Personally, I've lost faith in him.

    I wish he would allow citizens with common sense to help create the stimulus bill. We would look at it with the eyes of people facing a depression, not business as usual.

    A payroll reduction would help get this package through Congress.

    The Senate should take all the PORK money (ATV trails, STD edu, etc.) out of the bill. Put that money into a federal account that would suppliment a payroll reduction. The reductions should start on April 1st and continue for 18mo's. The additonal income for American families will allow them to purchase hybrid cars, insulate their homes, etc and spend money, which I believe is the Bills goal.

    This will stimulate the economy and create jobs.
    The government should then increase payroll taxes to there current levels in one year increments.

    If the bill implemented some decent form of a payroll reduction, the immediate outcome would also support the good long term goals within this package, which are beneficial to our country.

    It would also help get the votes of the republician party.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  30. John Dickson

    That adds up to about 287 billion. Where is the rest of the pork?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  31. Dan

    The rest of the stimulus bill here is going toward tax cuts. That is what is most remarkable about the delays we're seeing. Most of this stimulus bill is already going toward tax cuts. IMO it doesn't go nearly far enough in spending for more jobs.

    We already had a 300 billion dollar stimulus bill earlier this year, and it obviously did nothing. 500 dollars does nothing for someone about to go out of work, and certainly nothing for someone financially secure like me. Another 20 million jobs though instead of 400 billion in tax breaks would help the economy far more, and we'd all earn far more than 500 dollars in the process.
    The tired old republican method has clearly failed... why is it such a big part of this bill?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  32. Rosie

    There is no way this bill will stimulate the economy. This was all dumped into one bill. It did not take into consideration what is most important. There most be short term and long term goals. This bill will not help a 50 year old unemployed American find work. People that have a job can stimulate the economy. They will have the hope and the money to go out and spend. What is needed in America is substantial job RETRAINING programs. We produce young people that do not have the skills that are needed to be productive employed citizens.
    The income tax needs to be reduced so that individuals have more discretionary income. That will put more money in the hands of individuals to stimulate the economy.

    We need to STOP the outsourcing of American jobs to India and other countries. We are letting other countries THINK for us. This was started in the 90's and has brought about devestating results on our economy and our young people. What a shame.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  33. ronnie

    what about the seniors what money are they going to get to help us put food on our table and drugs we need you gave us medicade but it does not cover dental,glasses hearing aids......do you think we are already dead................never any talk about us who spend our whole lives paying taxes.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  34. Jason

    Dear JoAnn:

    The NSF directly funds research groups throughout America. On top of increasing the amount of students and skilled post-doctoral researchers that can be hired, spending on fine chemicals and instrumentation increases. In my opinion, this would directly stimulate the skilled labor force, one that has taken a major hit recently.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  35. Rosemarie Marousek

    Agree with Will, why is the remainder of $500 Billion to be spent on. Since we will be paying for this, we do have a right to get a complete list of expenditure!!!
    I do not see anything for the homeowners, or to extend the unemployment payments to famiies.
    Yes, we need to employ the people that lost their jobs. Without that help, homes will continue to foreclose, spending will dramactically decrease more so.
    Was not the first main concern to help stop foreclosures? Where is this addressed in the stimulus plan.
    Why do the companies that we bailout, still able to spend at their will for unneeded events, etc.
    I would love to see the people stand up, speak loud, and demand the ceasing of this behavior. I also believe that all the unwarranted bonus's used with the bailout money be returned through an invoice from the people of the United States. Our government needs to protect up and somehow have that money returned. While this useless spending goes on many are becoming homeless. People that gave these Lenders/Banks money to supposedly help them with the foreclosure issues.

    The government has to work harder and demand integrity from all that are given any bailout money.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  36. Gwen Sullivan

    What about seniors that has lost most of their money invested with financial advisors, and have depleted most of their retirement money...what do they live on.....????? what benefits do they get????I don't see any thing to help them out...with only a few more years to live, what willl they do????who is going to help them?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  37. Chuck

    This bill is a spending "orgy", and I've yet to hear much about how the "tax cuts" are broken out. People are supposed to get $1,000 tax rebate/credit/something...That is just a waste of money, most of us will use it to pay down debt, which I don't think will have much of an effect to stimulate the economy . I heard they were going to give a tax credit if you bought a new car or house, which I thought was stupid because who in their right mind is thinking about buying a new car or house NOW. We are all just trying to figure out if we'll have a job next month... Also heard the idea of 4% across the board fixed interest rate on mortgages (new or refinanced) which I thought was a great idea, but then heard it would only apply if you had a subprime mortgage, and now I don't hear anything about that.

    I think there is a whole lot of questions about how this going to help the average guy, and those questions hve still not been answered......

    February 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  38. David

    Where is the household stimulus?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  39. Tom

    Also, I want to add that my initial excitement for Obama is quickly fading and being replaced by concern and worry.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  40. B. P.

    So this is Obamas plan and how he is going to change DC? Bribe some of the weaker Republicans to pass a Bill that nobody approves of and let the Tax cheats get away? He has made nummerous mistakes in cabnit picks and promised to play with all the players. He said he was going to change Washington. When and how is this going to happen? He is the one contributing to the problem and making it so obvious and public. This is not "change", it just has someone else's name on it.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  41. Linda

    The tax cuts for buying a house. New houses, existing houses, $7,500 (to pay back) $15,000 (not pay back), bought after April, 2008, bought in 2009, first time buyer, any buyer, primary only, second homes?????? How does it compare with house bill? Who will be on the Conference Committee? When will conference committee meet?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  42. Raelyn

    I realize that Amy Holmes is young. Someone needs to let her know that it is inappropriate to call the President "Obama'. When speaking of him, she should call him President Obama, Mr. Obama or just the President. She shows him and the office of the presidency disrespect by calling him 'Obama.'

    We can continue, however, to call John McCain, 'McCain.'

    February 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  43. Tom

    I am disheartened. I do not see how this will quickly turn around the economy and put people back to work. Where are the incentives to get the consumer to spend and business to invest? Am I missing something? I see $2 billion for a high-speed rail. When is that going to be built and how will it stimulate the economy and help the average Joe in the next year?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  44. justin

    It is unfortunate so much scientific research was cut from this. It is well known that scientific research and discovery has brought technology and medicine to a new foreground which leads to job creation. i fail to see why many cant look at the big picture when it comes to scientific research and development.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  45. Robert303

    What is any of this stuff? PORK? What a joke!!! How will this "stimulate" the economy?

    February 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  46. Omar Mincey

    I'm upset that the government can just print up any amount of money they want with nothing backing it. Isn't that illegal because if you or I printed one hundred dollars of fake money we're going to jail. It's super hypocritical. Government is getting way to arrogant.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  47. bruce

    we need to stop giving money to these banks..they are crooks and cant run a good business..obviously..so why are we rewarding them for failing..let them all close down..and start from scratch. nationalize the banks and then,we, as taxpayters, become share holders and get a return on our investments.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  48. Iris A. Moore

    Dear Mr. Cooper:

    Thanks for this. When we get the United States of America back on the "Gold Standard," we shouldn't need this Economic Stimulus Plan. What say you about that?

    February 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  49. Samuel Tam

    what you list here is about 1/3 of the $870 B. In order to give us a complete picture of the Bill, I would appreciate a complete list of the spendings and tax credits.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  50. Trisha

    I support President Obama but I see things in this bill that need to be cut out and add more money to others like infrastructure and grids and education etc.. I saw a story on the amtrack on how they got away with not paying taxes and now they want money! No way! and I see items listed several times with mixed wording. I hope the President looks at this and cleans it up with out listening to the political posturing that is going on especially on the republican side who didn't have trouble spending when bush was in office and didn't step up when the housing market began to crumble and NOW they care! They need to get out of the way and the democrats need to be more pragmatic and listen more to the independent moderate thinkers and both parties need to pop the bubble around their brains and let it breath then maybe they can follow our Presidents vision who actually thinks outside the box!

    February 7, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
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