NSTA Legislative Update
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.

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