February 10, 2009

Here are some key differences in Senate/House stimulus bills

Posted: 11:10 AM ET

Key differences between the $827 billion Senate version of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan and the $820 billion version that passed the House last month.


_State aid: The Senate bill has $39 billion in education aid to states. The House measure includes $54 billion. It also includes a separate $25 billion block grant for states to use on other programs.

_Direct aid to individuals: The Senate devotes $17 billion for one-time $300 payments to Social Security recipients, poor people on Supplemental Security Income and veterans receiving disability and pensions. The House has $4 billion to provide a one-time additional Supplemental Security Income payment to poor elderly and disabled people of $450 for individuals and $630 for married couples.

_School construction: The House provides $19.5 billion to build and repair school and university facilities. The money was stripped from the Senate bill.


_Alternative minimum tax: The Senate devotes $70 billion to "patch" the alternative minimum tax, saving more than 20 million taxpayers a 2009 tax increase averaging about $2,000. The House bill does not include that provision.

_Homebuyer tax credit: The Senate provides $35.5 billion for a $15,000 tax credit for purchasers of homes bought in the year after the bill takes effect. The House includes $2.6 billion and limits its smaller $7,500 credit to first-time homebuyers for homes purchased from Jan. 1, 2009 to July 1, 2009 and phases out the credit for couples making more than $150,000.

_Carbuyer tax deduction: The Senate devotes $11 billion to make interest payments on loans for new cars and automobile sales taxes deductible. The House bill does not.

Filed under: Congress • Economy

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Rosemarie Wood   February 10th, 2009 12:51 pm ET

For God's Sake...Why is NO ONE talking about the interest rate hike that credit card company's are gauging on the one's who are paying their bills...Chase went to 24.99% and Captial One went to 19.99%, They are all saying its because of the ecomomy, and that we the middle income, who are paying our bills and getting our credit lines cut and the vicious cicle of losing our great credit ratings because it appears that our debit to limit ratio is too high, BUT, I did not use my credit cards and maintain my 30% or lower limits now it looks like I'm at 75% or higher because my limit was lower and now I'm being charge high interest rates, because I losing my credit rating!!! HELP and STOP this...PLEASE someone listen!!!

Mike P   February 10th, 2009 2:52 pm ET

I must have missed something when I was going over the Senate version of this stimulus bill, at I read over it and did'nt see any monies going to banks to help w/ this housing crisis. What I saw looked to be all of the government projects that have been put on hold are now "top priority". 4.7 billion dollars for Homeland Security to, get this, "to secure homeland". and that's all it said. 1 billion dollars for the NSF "to help America compete globelly", and that's all it said. 300 million so fed gov employee's can buy a new car, in the name of more efficiency.

Mike P   February 10th, 2009 4:22 pm ET

Were spending 838 billion to up the funding on government projects that already recieve hundreds of billions every year. And I just realized that the version I saw of the senate stimulus bill on (or google-contents of senate stimulus) was the "press release" version. It only accounts for 289 billion of the proposed 838 billion. Where in the hell is the rest of our money going? The only thing I agree with is the added funding of SNAP and WIC, which only amounts to about 23 billion. Where do they get off dictating how the nest egg the people have been letting them squeeze out of us all these years by working two jobs and having to go without, how do these people that were elected to public office spend public funds (OUR nest egg) and not have to account for hundreds of billions?

Mike P   February 10th, 2009 4:29 pm ET



Click the Huffington post link.

Mike P   February 10th, 2009 4:43 pm ET

Rose, Chase did the same thing to my mom. She has had her card for about 6-7 years. Maxed it out three times, always paid it back in full, never missed a payment and never went over her limit. They raised her intrest from 10.99 to 21.99 in the name of "risk assesment".
It was basiclly because they saw she had shopped at walmart, once as far as they know, once on that card. Of course she was'nt expecting that and the money in her bank account could'nt cover the intrest payment, fines and penalties, so on and so forth. It's not right and I am suprised that I don't hear more of it in the media, because I know were not the only ones to have this happen to. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The banks are getting billions of OUR nest egg at 0.0 or 0.5% intrest, I forget. Then they turn around and expect us to pay 30% intrest. What a Sham-wow.

Arrah Carr   February 10th, 2009 7:00 pm ET

Homeless in Florida

I saw a documentary on the Chinese shipping freight boxes we are storing somewhere.

These are solid, insulated and easy to convert to apartment buildings, storage and shops. etc. I would love to have one on my place.

See how many state and city officials would consider land to put up housing for people like the lady in Florida.

Two of them side by side would make a confortable temporary housing. It would put carpenters to work as well

cookie collins   February 10th, 2009 7:04 pm ET

I would like to know why when I went ot work this morning our gas prices were $1.74 and when I came home it had gone up to $1.94. This has been going on for about a week or more , prices going up and down in one day about 20 cents a gallon. If this isn't gauging what is it? And they wonder why the economy is in the shape its in. This is disgusting.

B Rolfe   February 10th, 2009 7:42 pm ET

I voted for obama and for the first time I'm second guessing.I'm a middle aged constuction worker and this stimulus bill isn't looking like it's going to help me! Fix the housing problem and put millions back to work.Construction workers to suppliers like home depot employees and logging companys,lumber yards,steel workers,truck suppliers,landscapers,bankers,lawyers etc..Than that money would trickle to walmarts ,targets,small local stores,gas stations etc...Thats millions of jobs..Just a thought!!!!!!

Gerard Matthews   February 10th, 2009 9:30 pm ET

This is the worst interview ever! Larry seems to want the crew to say that they were freighten and in doing so he is freightening the viewers who may have a fear of flying. What a putzs. Just discusting.!

Kay Peariso   February 10th, 2009 10:21 pm ET

This is How GM Destroyed a City, People's Lives and Misused Your Federal Tax Dollars Through the TARP Fund:

I live and grew up in Flint, Michigan. This is where General Motors was born. I grew up in a GM family and I live in one now. My grandfather, dad, step-father, husband, 2 brother in-laws, sister in-law, aunts, uncles and several cousins all worked or work for GM. We all lived happy, healthy lives until they started outsourcing jobs in the 1980's.

I know a lot of people have a negative view regarding the UAW, but I would like explain how it came about and where they are at now. My grandfather stated working for GM in the 1920's when GM was in it's infancy. He was there during the famous "Sit Down Strike". He watched his friends heads bashed in, shot, jailed and were held up in the plants starving for days and days. This was all done to save the lives of employees and bring about fairness in the workplace. Prior to the Sit Down Strike, which brought about the UAW, conditions were deplorable for the workers. They were burnt by molten metal; Lost limbs, were crushed and/or died due to machinery falling on them or press crushes; breathed in and were exposed to very hazardous chemicals with no protection; exposed to deafening sound; and were forced to sit in the lunch room for hours and hours and hours with no pay while the line was down because it need repair. They only made 4 cents an hour while upper management lined their pockets with riches. Conditions did improve after the strike for unionization, but they are still hazardous today. My father in-law worked in the wast treatment plant at a GM plant for 38 yrs. and retired in 1991. He has never smoked, but now has a severe lung disease, is on oxygen and is dying. My husband worked in the Power House at the same plant for 20 yrs. He breathed in fly ash (coal dust)and was exposed to deafening noise everyday. He is required by GM to have a chest x-ray and hearing test every year now. He is now a UAW Skilled Trades Shop Committee Man. He makes sure his fellow workers are protected from hazards as much as he can and they are treated fairly. I don't think people realize what those workers go through everyday. They are still exposed to some hazards. The men and women that work the line stand on cement floors all day long, sometimes in one place, use repetitive movements and do heavy lifting. Depending on their job, some have to even wait for a relief worker to use the restroom. They have back problems, carpal tunnel, muscle injuries and more.

I also know some think the UAW workers are paid too much, have to many benefits and are lazy. None of the above is true. They are not rich people. They just live a middle class life like many others across this country. Isn't that what most of us strive for and deserve? They have made many concessions to save the company money. First of all, they DO NOT make $70 per hour. The top paid, non skilled worker with 25+ years seniority makes $28 per hour. Our benefits have been cut in half. I have to pay 50% of all of my doctors visits. I must mail order all of my prescriptions or they are not covered by insurance. I get only $70 a year for vision care, I paid $250 out of my pocket last time I had an exam and glasses. Our dental care pays for a yearly cleaning and almost nothing else. I had a tooth filled last week and it cost me $92. It's not our fault the legacy cost is so high. GM is an old company, 100 years; therefore, there is a lot of retirees. The UAW and GM have created a VEBA Fund to pay for the retirees and take it off GM's books. The UAW will fund it from here on out which means the employees will pay for it themselves. The workers are forced to take 2 weeks off every summer for change over of the line. They must either use their vacation time over those 2 weeks or go without pay. The new hires (which have all been laid off and lost their jobs) are only paid 14.20 per hour. GM CEO, Rick Wagner, the Share Holders on the Board and Upper Executives sure haven't given any concessions; yet the workers always take the blame. One other thing, people say the UAW members are the reason their cars cost so much. That is not true for 2 reasons: One, they are less than 10% of the cost of the car; Two, they have outsourced the parts and/or assembly of the cars and pay those foreign worker $5 per hour or less yet the price of the car sure doesn't come down. So where do the cost savings from outsourcing go? I'll tell you, that money lines the pockets of Mr. Wagner, the Share Holders on the Board and Upper Executives. It's called GREED of the top Holders of the company. The top 10% of society takes 90% of the wealth and the remaining 10% is left to share by the rest of us middle class and poor.

In the 1980' outsourcing of our jobs to foreign countries started. Our town started to go down hill. All because of Greed of the company, not the workers. We now have 24.4% unemployment with an unemployment rate at 12.6%, that is the numbers from the federal government. There are buildings after buildings boarded up. Business are either going into bankruptcy or leaving town. I have lived in my neighborhood for 22 years and we never had vacant homes until the last 3 years. The homes in the city are falling apart and there are 100's if not 1000's of boarded up homes. There are people that are either homeless or destitute hanging out on almost every corner. The crime rate is close to Detroit's crime rate. There is rampant drug and alcohol abuse. The infant mortality rate is close to the highest in the nation. Child abuse and neglect is on the rise. Domestic violence is out of control. The Police and Fire Department has laid off to dangerous levels because they have minimal tax revenue. Our roads, sewers and water system are in deplorable shape. The city jail was forced to close and the county jail is overflowing; therefore, criminals are forced out to walk the streets. The charities have no money. They have almost no food or clothing to help people. The shelters are all full and overflowing. There are no jobs, not even minimum wage jobs. That is what GM did to my town by turning their back on us, outsourcing our jobs and running the company into the ground.

Now I'll tell you about the TARP Loan that GM got from the government financed by you tax dollars. I stuck up for them at first. I called several Senators and Congressmen/women begging them to give them the loan. My husband's union was set to build the Chevy Volt Electric Car Engine here in Flint. They had a ground breaking ceremony here last September with our Governor, Mr. Wagner (GM CEO), top UAW Leaders and several other dignitaries. A month ago they were issued $300,000,000 of that money to start building the plant. Several businesses here were given contracts to do the work. Those businesses purchased the steel, machinery, drew up the blueprints, bought the paint and so on. Well, last week we were told they canceled the plant to be built here. They stiffed all of those companies for the materials they bought and the work they did, they are out/owed millions of dollars. (there was an article in our newspaper about it today). We have since found out they will be building that engine in Austria with OUR TAX DOLLARS!!!! They never paid back the $300,000,000 they were given either. Then, I found an article on line from a Latin American newspaper stating GM spent $1,000,000,000 of OUR TAX DOLLARS from the TARP fund there in Latin America, it's on Wikipedia under the heading GM.

Our family has been devastated and we are scared to death. Luckily my husband is still working, but we are unsure how long. We are scared everyday he maybe told "your out work". He already had to tell 600 people they lost their jobs in December. Some of them came back to work in February, but now they have been told they are eliminating 2nd shift so many will be laid off again plus some. When my husband started working there in 1978 there were 14,000 employees and now they have 500. I am an RN but I can no longer work due to a medical condition. Our daughter works as a contract worker for the same plant. She may lose her job next week. She has a 4 year old son that she gets no child support for. We already help pay for our grandson because she can't afford everything. Our son that we paid $166,000 for his Aeronautical Engineering Degree lost his job 3 weeks ago at Honeywell Aeronautics. He and 4 others that were low seniority were let go due to the economy. I don't understand why because he was working on the fuel system for a new military jet. Is the military going out of business? We are also paying our daughter and son's car payments and insurance because they don't have the money. We only have a small mortgage at 5% interest, we only owe 5 more years. We are paying off those student loans for our son's education. What will we do if my husband loses his job? I know we should be thankful he still has a job and we are; but, we will lose our home, cars and everything we own if husband loses his job.

Outsourcing and unfair trade is the problem!!!! Most of the middle class's jobs have been sent out of the country. The middle class and poor keep getting poorer and poorer while the rich keep getting richer and richer. How can anyone buy products when they barely make enough money to just get by? How can the companies make enough money when the top 10% of society are the only ones that have any money? GM biggest customer base was their employees. When they eliminate their employees they lose their customers, DUH!!!! Blue collar jobs are not the only ones being outsourced now. My brother in-law is an engineer and he was forced to go to China to train someone there to take his job. Companies are bring in visa workers to take away U.S. professional jobs. Whenever you call a company for assistance or tech support you get a foreign worker on the line. Other countries can import their goods and cars for minimal cost; however, some of those countries won't even let us import into their country or they charge us large import fees. How can we compete with people that make $5 or less an hour? Then, foreign companies are now locating here and undercutting our workers. They are subsidized by their governments so they have minimal cost. Their management has insurance that is paid for by their government. They hire a lot of temp workers so they don't have to pay them much or any benefits. However, Toyota pays their full time worker $30 per hour, that's more than the GM worker's $28 per hour. They have been GIVEN $3,400,000,000 of U.S. TAX DOLLAR to locate here, and that what we know about. They have been given free land, tax exemptions and contracts to fleet local governments. They don't have legacy costs, retooling and rebuilding cost because they are fairly new businesses compared to the U.S. Auto Makers. How can we compete?

ed ,vancouver canada   February 11th, 2009 4:38 am ET

they need 2 trillion dollars.and it should go to the people.

Terry, TX   February 11th, 2009 9:01 am ET

Have we been Blagovich-ed with an "F".
1) $2.9 billion for weatherization programs -No Home Responsibility Hereā€¦. Go Buy a Tube of Caulk at Wal-Mart & weatherstripping..are we serious.
2) Doubled Education Budget...Did we have 100% Unemployment in Education... illegal aliens should be jumping for joy.
3) Health Data Processing to merge records....yeah right...Read Daschle's Book Page 196....then read the Health Part of the Pork Package...pages 442, 445, 457 and 459...this bad...and after you read it...Blagovich-ed.
4) These mayor's with their Christmas List.
I could go on and on but it would bore you. Say No to This Pork.

Michael C. McHugh   February 11th, 2009 11:06 am ET

For future reforms, how about allowing the Federal Reserve Board to transfer funds directly to state and local governments that are facing bankruptcy. Basically, you could give them all accounts for this direct infusion of money. The Federal Reserve could also provide capital to a federal investment and development bank, to various infrastructure and job creation projects, key industries that we cannot allow to fail, and so on.

I understand that the Fed was never intended to be that kind of bank, but perhaps the time has come to revise its mission. If worse comes to worse, and I think it will, we may have to start doing things like this soon.

Victoria Velten   February 11th, 2009 3:24 pm ET

The United States comes to the aide to other countries when they are in need of help. What is so wrong about spending money on our own country to help and boost the economy. It's now time that congress and senate highly consider helping our own people and spend money to improve the future of our country to help all Americans.

Alex   February 11th, 2009 4:18 pm ET

Why doesn't the government just let those families that are deemed "middle class (upper and lower)" not to pay taxes for either 3 or 6 months? This will definitely fuel spending. There has to be some type of "tax rule" that'll probably break something I figure.


Tarrah   February 11th, 2009 4:20 pm ET

I am a single mom and I have been out of work for 6 months due to the economy. My unemployment will soon run out, other than the pay out dollar amount of a couple hundred dollars in the stimulus, are there any grant programs in place to provide more direct help to the little people? $300 or so will be helpful for the bills that month, but it wont help me get out of the hole that this economy has placed people like me in.

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