On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law a $787 billion stimulus bill that many hope will put an end to what some are calling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Its passing in Congress proves a huge triumph for Obama, who lobbied for the bill during his first month of presidency.
Through unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care and job retraining, the legislation supplies billions of dollars to help those affected by the recession. The package is said to save or generate 3.5 million jobs, and its tax cuts are projected to help 95% of all Americans (shown through tax credits of $400 for individuals and $800 for couples).
Other highlights and benefits of the stimulus bill include a $54 billion fund to compensate for state budget cuts that might otherwise have been used toward schools, $87 billion to aid states in administering Medicaid, $42 billion for energy-related investments, and $9.2 for environmental projects.
Even though the plan provides immediate aid, it will up the costs in the long run. Forecasters anticipate the 2009 deficit to reach $1.6 trillion, which is approximately three times that of 2008. There was also a major split down party lines in Congress on passing the bill: The House vote was 246-183, in which the Republican opposition was almost unanimous, and the Senate vote was 60-38.