February 13, 2009
Congress Approves Economic Stimulus Bill
One day after the U.S. Senate approved their version of the massive economic stimulus bill, Congressional leaders quickly reached agreement on a compromise version of the two chambers’ versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. On Friday, February 13, the House approved the final stimulus bill by a margin of 246-183. No Republicans voted for the bill. The Senate followed suit and approved the bill by a vote of 60 to 38.
The final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, estimated to cost $790 billion, contains significant funding increases for science and technology and for many education initiatives, including $53.6 billion for a fiscal stabilization fund which will allow states to maintain support for education at the same level as in previous years. Funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization fund includes $39.5 billion to local school districts via existing funding formulas which can be used for preventing cutbacks in school initiatives, preventing layoffs, and for school modernization and repairs; $5 billion that states can use as bonus grants for meeting key performance measures; and $8.8 billion for high priority needs, which can include modernization, renovation and repairs of school facilities.
The bill also provides $100 million for teacher quality grants under the Higher Education Act; $ 12.2 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); $13 billion for Title 1, and $650 million for educational technology state grants.
The final agreement also includes $3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) which includes $100 million for programs under the Education and Human Resources Directorate.
As reported in earlier issues of the NSTA Legislative Update, the $820 billion House bill passed on January 28 on a party line vote of 244 to 188 without a single Republican vote. The $838 billion Senate bill approved on February 10 by a 61 to 39 vote had the backing of three Republicans.
(Back to NSTA Express)