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Obama Signs Recovery Act

Obama Signs Recovery Act

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On February 17, 2009, in Denver, Colorado, President Barack Obama discusses the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act before he signs it into law. The $787 billion stimulus package was designed to create or save jobs in the wake of mass layoffs brought about by the Great Recession.

Pros and Cons of ARRA

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had something for everybody. But it was almost too complicated. Many people were unsure whether they, in fact, received a tax break. Polls showed that many others thought their taxes had increased instead of decreased.  

Small businesses complained that loan guarantees and tax deductions didn't help them. That's because the orders just weren't coming in.

Others criticized the focus on education or helping low-income families. Some said that extended unemployment benefits removed the incentive to look for work.

The success of ARRA is in the numbers.

The recession ended in June 2009, four months after Congress passed the Act.   Economic growth immediately improved. It expanded 1.7% in the third quarter of 2009 after shrinking 6.7% in Q1 2009.   In the first 18 months after ARRA passed, the economy added 2.4 million private sector and 1.7 million government jobs. That was after losing more than 500,000 jobs a month during the recession.  

In 2009, the Council of Economic Advisers predicted that ARRA would increase employment by 6.8 million full-time jobs by the end of 2012.   In 2015, the CBO estimated the stimulus had actually created between 2 million and 10.9 million jobs between 2009 and 2012. Most of the increase occurred by 2011.

Obama Signs Stimulus Bill

President Barack Obama traveled to Denver Tuesday to sign the economic stimulus bill. Approved by Congress on a largely party-line vote last week, the bill is designed to inject nearly $800 billion into the economy through tax cuts and new federal spending.

Well, it doesn't get much bigger than today for President Obama.

President BARACK OBAMA: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that I will sign today, a plan that meets the principles I laid out in January, is the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.

BLOCK: In a ceremony in Denver, the president signed the economic stimulus bill into law. The package, totaling some $787 billion in tax breaks and spending now goes into effect in an attempt to fire up the economy. The hope is that the new law will create or save more than three million jobs. NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley is traveling with the president. He joins us now from Denver. And Scott, first of all, why Denver?

SCOTT HORSLEY: Well, Melissa, it's not Washington, D.C. It's 1,689 miles away from all the political strife that led up to the passage of this bill. And getting outside the nation's capital allows the president to focus not so much on the politics but on the economic impact of this measure. And that's something we're told that the president will be doing more of in the days and weeks to come. As for why Denver in particular, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said this area has become a crossroads of clean energy. And one of the things that the stimulus bill is designed to encourage with some $50 billion in funding is green energy, alternative energy, energy efficiency.

The museum that serves as a backdrop for the signing has a big solar roof on it - solar collecting panel on its roof. And the president climbed up there to inspect that before he signed the bill.

BLOCK: And the bill, Scott, is supposed to encourage consumer spending and also create jobs, as we mentioned. How do you calculate this? When does the first dollar show up in the economy? How quickly might we start to see an impact from this law?

HORSLEY: Well, remember, the bill has two elements. The government spending is part of it and then tax cuts is another part. As part of the government spending, they wanted to have all those shovel-ready projects so that the money could be spent as quickly as possible. And the administration has promised that 75% of it will be spent in the next 18 months.

Some outsiders were skeptical of that. But one of the biggest, earliest impacts may be the tax cuts. A signature piece of the president's campaign platform was this making work pay tax cut that's going to translate into a few more dollars in working families' paychecks. That will start showing up in just a few months. And it's going to be not a huge sum, may be $13 a week for a typical worker.

But the hope is that because it's a regular, something that shows up week after week, paycheck after paycheck, people will be more inclined to spend it and re-circulate that money than if it were a one-time lump sum payment.

BLOCK: The Obama administration has called this stimulus package just one piece of an overall economic recovery plan, one leg of the stool, as they say. What comes next?

HORSLEY: Tomorrow the president will be in Arizona to talk about his foreclosure mitigation plan. We've been hearing about as many as 10,000 foreclosures a day, until some of the big banks put a halt to that, just recently, while they wait to see what the government does. Today, the president also talked about other legs of the stool being financial regulation to prevent this kind of meltdown from happening again. And then, over the longer term, addressing the nation's deficit - trying to get the fiscal House in order.

President Obama said today that the signing of the stimulus measure is not the end of our economic troubles, but to sort of paraphrase Winston Churchill, he said, it is the beginning of the end.

BLOCK: Okay, NPR's Scott Horsley in Denver. Scott, thanks very much.

HORSLEY: Good to be with you.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR&rsquos programming is the audio record.

Working in Partnership

NSF is honored by the recognition of the Foundation's role in stimulating the American economy with its inclusion in the Recovery Act. The law and implementing guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) set clear expectations for accountability and transparency from both Federal agencies and from recipients of Recovery Act funding.
The high expectations embodied in the Recovery Act acknowledge the contributions that NSF and its partners in the research and education community have made to the economy and welfare of the nation over the past six decades. This partnership is one of the nation&rsquos greatest strengths, and we look forward to working with you as we continue to pursue the promise of science and engineering and meet the goals of the Recovery Act for securing the nation&rsquos future.


On April 27, 2009, the Senate invoked cloture on the bill as amended (S. 386) on an 84–4 vote, with eleven not voting. Only four Senators voted no, all Republicans (Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, and Jon Kyl). [1] On April 28, the Senate passed the bill on a 92–4 vote, with three not voting the same Senators who voted against cloture voted against the bill. [2]

On May 6, the United States House of Representatives passed the bill with its own amendment on a 367–59 vote, with six Representatives not voting and one Representative, Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida, voting present. All 250 Democrats casting votes, as well as 117 Republicans, voted yes all of the 59 no votes were cast by Republicans. [3]

The Senate then added an amendment to the House's amendment. The House accepted the final version of the bill on a 338–52 vote on May 18, with 43 Representatives not voting. All 224 Democrats casting votes, as well as 114 Republicans, voted yes. Fifty-two Republicans voted no. [4]

President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law on May 20 along with the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, a bill concerned with mortgage foreclosure prevention. [5]

The Act changes the definition of a financial institution for the purposes of Federal criminal law to include mortgage lending businesses, which are defined as "organizations which finance or refinance any debt secured by an interest in real estate, including private mortgage companies and any subsidiaries of such organizations, and whose activities affect interstate or foreign commerce." 18 U.S.C. § 1014, which makes it a federal offense to falsify loan documents submitted to a broad range of financial institutions, is amended to include mortgage lending businesses in that range, and for good measure also includes any other person "that makes in whole or in part a federally related mortgage loan". [6]

The crime of major fraud against the United States (18 U.S.C. § 1031), which previously covered only fraud in government procurement and contracts for services, is amended to include a wider range of government involvement, including grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, transactions under the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and any "other form of Federal assistance". [7] FERA amends the definition of securities fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1348, to include fraud related to commodities futures and options in addition to the existing category of registered securities under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. [8]

Finally, the Act defines proceeds in the money laundering statute (18 U.S.C. § 1956) as "any property derived from or obtained or retained, directly or indirectly, through some form of unlawful activity, including the gross receipts of such activity". [9] Previously, the term was left undefined, and was interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Santos by a plurality of the justices as excluding gross receipts. [10] [11] A "Sense of the Congress" section suggests that senior prosecutors, such as a United States Attorney or superior, should be involved before certain kinds of money-laundering cases are instigated, and directs the Attorney General to deliver a yearly report on such cases for the next four years. [12]

Section 3 of the Act authorizes additional funding to detect and prosecute fraud at various federal agencies, specifically:

    165,000,000 to the Department of Justice,
  • $30,000,000 each to the Postal Inspection Service and the Office of the Inspector General at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD/OIG)
  • $20,000,000 to the Secret Service
  • $21,000,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission

These authorizations are made for the federal fiscal years beginning October 1, 2009 and 2010, after which point they expire, and are in addition to the previously authorized budgets for these agencies. [13]

Section 4 of FERA restates part of the False Claims Act, to "reflect the original intent of the law". This amendment is in reaction to the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Allison Engine Co. v. United States ex rel. Sanders, in which the Court held that the mere involvement of Federal money was insufficient to bring a fraudulent claim or invoice within the scope of the False Claims Act. The amended subsection (a) of 31 U.S.C. § 3729 effectively reverses the Allison Engine decision, weakening the requirement to "a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim", where a claim includes "any request or demand" related to a government program and which will be paid from funds supplied by the government. [14] [15]

Finally, section 5 of the Act created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a legislative commission with each house of the United States Congress represented by three members appointed by the majority party and two members appointed by the minority, none of whom may be employees of the Federal government or any state or local government. The purpose of the commission is "to examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States."

5 Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked

F ive years ago Monday, President Barack Obama visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, his $800 billion stimulus bill. At the time, the U.S. economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. In the fourth quarter of 2008, it had contracted at an 8% annual rate, a Depression-level free fall.

&ldquoToday does not mark the end of our economic problems,&rdquo Obama said on Feb. 17, 2009. &ldquoBut it does mark the beginning of the end.&rdquo

And so it did. The stimulus quickly became a national joke, mocked by the right as a massive boondoggle and by the left as a pathetic pittance. A year after it passed, the percentage of Americans who believed it had created jobs was lower than the percentage of Americans who believed Elvis was alive. But after an epic financial crisis, the Recovery Act did launch a recovery. The economy started growing again in summer 2009. It started adding jobs again in spring 2010.

This week, the White House will release a report documenting how the stimulus spelled the difference between contraction and growth for much of Obama&rsquos first term. Politically, the White House lost the argument over the stimulus long ago, but for Recovery Act obsessives &mdash O.K., maybe I&rsquom the only one &mdash it&rsquos still nice to see the facts in black and white.

The main conclusion of the 70-page report &mdash the White House gave me an advance draft &mdash is that the Recovery Act increased U.S. GDP by roughly 2 to 2.5 percentage points from late 2009 through mid-2011, keeping us out of a double-dip recession. It added about 6 million &ldquojob years&rdquo (a full-time job for a full year) through the end of 2012. If you combine the Recovery Act with a series of follow-up measures, including unemployment-insurance extensions, small-business tax cuts and payroll tax cuts, the Administration&rsquos fiscal stimulus produced a 2% to 3% increase in GDP in every quarter from late 2009 through 2012, and 9 million extra job years, according to the report.

The White House, of course, is not an objective source &mdash Council of Economic Advisers chair Jason Furman, who oversaw the report, helped assemble the Recovery Act &mdash but its estimates are in line with work by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and a variety of private-sector analysts. Before Obama took office, it would have been a truism to assert that stimulus packages stimulate the economy: every 2008 presidential candidate proposed a stimulus, and Mitt Romney&rsquos proposal was the most aggressive. In January 2009, House Republicans (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus bill that was almost as expansive as Obama&rsquos. But even though the stimulus has been a partisan political football for the past five years, that truism still holds.

The report also estimates that the Recovery Act&rsquos aid to victims of the Great Recession &mdash in the form of expanded food stamps, earned-income tax credits, unemployment benefits and much more &mdash directly prevented 5.3 million people from slipping below the poverty line. It also improved nearly 42,000 miles of roads, repaired over 2,700 bridges, funded 12,220 transit vehicles, improved more than 3,000 water projects and provided tax cuts to 160 million American workers.

My obsession with the stimulus has focused less on its short-term economic jolt than its long-term policy revolution: I wrote an article about it for TIME titled &ldquoHow the Stimulus Is Changing America&rdquo and a book about it called The New New Deal. The Recovery Act jump-started clean energy in America, financing unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources of electricity. It advanced biofuels, electric vehicles and energy efficiency in every imaginable form. It helped fund the factories to build all that green stuff in the U.S., and research into the green technologies of tomorrow. It&rsquos the reason U.S. wind production has increased 145% since 2008 and solar installations have increased more than 1,200%. The stimulus is also the reason the use of electronic medical records has more than doubled in doctors&rsquo offices and almost quintupled in hospitals. It improved more than 110,000 miles of broadband infrastructure. It launched Race to the Top, the most ambitious national education reform in decades.

At a ceremony Thursday in the Mojave Desert, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated the world&rsquos largest solar plant, a billion-dollar stimulus project funded by the same loan program that financed the notorious Solyndra factory. It will be providing clean energy to 94,000 homes long after Solyndra has been forgotten. Unfortunately, the only long-term effect of the Recovery Act that&rsquos gotten much attention has been its long-term effect on national deficits and debts. As the White House report makes clear, that effect is negligible. The overwhelming majority of the Recovery Act&rsquos dollars have gone out the door it&rsquos no longer adding to the deficit. It did add about 0.1% to our 75-year debt projections, but allowing the economy to slip into a depression would have added a lot more debt.

The real long-term danger is that the Recovery Act became so unpopular so quickly that future politicians might shy away from stimulus packages. Europe quickly embraced austerity, which is one reason the unemployment rate in the euro zone is almost twice as high as ours. Historically, recoveries in the U.S. have been much stronger and faster, and from much less damaging financial crises. This time it hasn&rsquot been as strong as it should have been, partly because of austerity fever among Republicans, stimulus discomfort among Democrats, and deep budget cuts at the state and local level. The political pendulum has swung back toward austerity, producing the &ldquosequester&rdquo and other anti-stimulus.

But the report is a reminder that the Recovery Act succeeded in creating jobs, boosting growth and saving us from a much worse fate. We&rsquore still healing from the worst crisis in 80 years, but we&rsquore well past the beginning of the end.

Five years later, what did the stimulus bill accomplish?

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – The costly $787 billion spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law soon after taking office boosted the economy and helped avoid another Great Depression, the White House said in a status report on Monday’s fifth anniversary of the law’s enactment.

Republican leaders in Congress took note of the anniversary, too, but argued that the bill spent too much for too little in return.

White House economic adviser Jason Furman said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made other targeted investments that will pay dividends for years to come.

By itself, the stimulus bill saved or created an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years through the end of 2012, Furman said in a White House blog post.

Half of the total fiscal support for the economy, or about $689 billion, from the recovery act and subsequent measures was in the form of tax cuts directed mostly at families. The remainder was spent on such things as rebuilding roads and bridges, preventing teacher layoffs and providing temporary help for people who lost their jobs or needed other assistance because of the poor economy.

The report said recovery act spending will have a positive effect on long-run growth, boost the economy’s potential output and ultimately offset much of the law’s initial cost.

More than 40,000 miles of roads and more than 2,700 bridges have been upgraded, nearly 700 drinking water systems serving more than 48 million people have been brought into compliance with federal clean water standards and high-speed Internet was introduced to about 20,000 community institutions.

“While these figures are substantial, they still nevertheless understate the full magnitude of the administration’s response to the crisis,” Furman wrote.

He noted that the report focused solely on the effects of fiscal legislation. It did not evaluate other administration policies that aided the recovery, such as stabilizing the financial system, rescuing the auto industry and supporting the housing sector.

Republicans were in less of a mood to celebrate.

“The ‘stimulus’ has turned out to be a classic case of big promises and big spending with little results,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a written statement. “Five years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, millions of families are still asking ‘Where are the jobs?'”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., argued that Obama could put the nation’s finances on a more solid footing and create jobs by taking steps to roll back regulations and finally approve the Keystone XL pipeline project from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

“Five years later, the stimulus is no success to celebrate,” said McConnell. “It is a tragedy to lament.”

Furman said the economy is “undoubtedly in a stronger position” because it has grown for 11 straight months, although not at a pace that would be considered robust. Businesses have also added 8.5 million jobs since early 2010. Obama initially sold the stimulus as an investment that would produce a dramatic decrease in unemployment that ultimately did not materialize.

Unemployment remains high, at 6.6 percent in January, though it has fallen considerably since reaching double-digit highs early in Obama’s administration. Some of the decline, however, is due to people dropping out of the workforce. People aren’t considered unemployed if they aren’t looking for work.

“While far more work remains to ensure that the economy provides opportunity for every American, there can be no question that President Obama’s actions to date have laid the groundwork for stronger, more sustainable economic growth in the years ahead,” Furman said.

Obama planned to discuss the economy Tuesday at a suburban Washington distribution center for the Safeway grocery store chain. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden will mark the recovery act’s fifth anniversary during a visit to America’s Central Port in Granite City, Ill.

Left: President Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado, on February 17, 2009. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

FACT CHECK: Did Barack Obama Sign A Law That Allows The Media To ‘Purposely Lie To The American People’?

The referenced law, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, mentions nothing about making it legal for private media organizations to lie to the American people.

The claim that Obama signed a law making it &ldquoperfectly legal for the media to purposely lie to the American people&rdquo has circulated since at least 2019 and recently resurfaced on social media. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Barack Obama With Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan?)

&ldquoThanks to Obama, it is perfectly legal for the media to purposely lie to the American people,&rdquo reads the text inside the image. &ldquoHe quietly signed into law HR 4310 in 2012, allowing propaganda to be used on the citizens of the USA by its own government, essentially repealing the Smith-Mundt act of 1948, banning the use of domestic propaganda.&rdquo

H.R. 4310 refers to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, a bill that outlined the budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense for that fiscal year. Obama signed it into law in January 2013, according to a White House press release. A search of the law&rsquos text turned up no clause about what traditional, private news organizations can or cannot publish.

The post is likely referencing a change the legislation made to the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, a law, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act, that authorized and set rules around the dissemination of information from U.S. government-funded media outlets like Voice of America, according to the U.S. Agency for Global Media. The U.S. Agency for Global Media &ldquobroadcasts news and information about the United States and the world to audiences abroad,&rdquo per

The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, contained within the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, eased some restrictions so that media produced by the U.S. Agency for Global Media and intended for foreign audiences could be distributed domestically upon request, according to its text. Prior to its passage, the content was banned from being disseminated in America.

The act did not make it legal for the independent, privately-owned media organizations, where most Americans get their news, to &ldquopurposely lie,&rdquo as the post inaccurately suggests.

Many have criticized the U.S. Agency for Global Media and its content. The agency has denied its work is &ldquopropaganda,&rdquo saying in a statement on its website, &ldquoOur journalists must abide by legally mandated broadcasting standards and principles to present accurate and objective news and information.&rdquo

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] .

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. The Administration has stated that the Act "is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need."

Implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The FCC worked in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to perform the FCC's role under the Recovery Act. In conjunction with the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program established by the Act, the FCC worked in coordination with the NTIA to create the National Broadband Plan, to ensure all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and establish benchmarks for meeting that goal. The Plan was released on March 17, 2010. The National Broadband Map was created by the NTIA, in collaboration with the FCC, and in partnership with 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The National Broadband Map, a project of NTIA's State Broadband Initiative, was published on February 17, 2011 and will be updated approximately every six months. Also as part of its Recovery Act responsibilities, the FCC performed extensive outreach, hosted a call center, and provided individual assistance during the Digital Television transition, which occurred on June 12, 2009.

Agency Plans and Reports

Weekly Updates

Weekly reports providing a breakdown of funding, major actions taken to date and major planned actions (Note: The FCC has paid out all obligations related to its Recovery Funds and reconciled its final figures on the last report dated September 30, 2012. As such, the September 30, 2012 report provides the final total expenditures for the FCC's Recovery Act funds and is the FCC's last weekly report.)

How It Worked

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had three spending categories. It cut taxes by $288 billion and earmarked $224 billion in extended unemployment benefits, education, and health care spending. Also, the Act created jobs by allocating $275 billion in federal contracts, grants, and loans.  

Congress designed the Act to provide nearly $720 billion in benefits, or 91.5%, in its first three fiscal years. It allocated $185 billion in FY 2009, $399 billion in FY 2010, and $134 billion in FY 2011.

The Obama administration did better than planned. By the end of FY 2009, the adverse effect on the budget deficit was only $179 billion. Of that, $68 billion went toward tax relief and credits. Another was spent on $34 billion in health services and $21 billion on education. It also spent $28 billion on unemployment compensation and $13 billion on extra Social Security and veterans' checks.

The report estimated the total impact on the deficit would be $836 billion by 2019. As of the fiscal year 2014, ARRA had added $827 billion to the deficit. Of that, $303 billion went toward tax relief and credits. Another $141 billion was spent on health services and $97 billion on education. It spent $64 billion on unemployment compensation and $48 billion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  

Watch the video: ΗΠΑ: Ορκίστηκε ο Μπαράκ Ομπάμα (June 2022).


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