House Passes Stimulus Bill But Senate Balks

September 30, 2008

Thanks to the efforts of AFSCME activists across the nation, AFSCME scored an important legislative victory when the House passed an economic stimulus package (H.R. 7110) by a vote of 264-158 on Friday. Forty-one Republicans supported the package despite a veto threat from the Administration.

The eight Democratic members who voted against the bill were: Representatives Marion Berry (D-AR), Allen Boyd (D-FL), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), Nick Lampson (D-TX), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Gene Taylor (D-MS). The roll call vote can be found on the House website.

The bill would provide states with $14.4 billion in fiscal relief by providing temporary additional federal support of state Medicaid programs. The bill would also grow our economy and create jobs through a $30 billion investment in infrastructure. It would help maintain a basic standard of living for families by extending unemployment benefits for Americans looking for work and providing $2.6 billion for additional food stamp assistance.

Earlier in the day, by a vote of 52 to 42, Senate Republicans blocked consideration of an economic recovery package by threatening a filibuster. The bill, stymied by Republican Senators, would have provided $19.6 billion in temporary additional federal support for state Medicaid programs. The bill would have provided $490 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to support state and local communities and other important assistance to state and local governments. It also included funds to avert staffing cuts for child support enforcement. The roll call vote can be found on the Senate website.

Congress will hopefully address the need for real economic assistance as soon as possible in the new Congress which will convene in January with a new president in the White House. The strong bi-partisan vote in the House should lay a foundation for swift congressional action.

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