This summer, Democrats pushing for additional stimulus have seemed to focus almost exclusively on extended unemployment benefits, blocked by Senate Republicans
This summer, Democrats pushing for additional stimulus have seemed to focus almost exclusively on extended unemployment benefits, blocked by Senate Republicans for two months. But the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created dozens of stimulus programs whose funding is fading. And Congressional Democrats have thus far failed to extend or create funds for dozens of initiatives — including teachers’ jobs, summer jobs programs, Medicaid funding for states, state fiscal aid, Build America Bonds and many others.
Today, LaDonna Pavetti at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities focuses on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Fund — a supplemental pool of money tacked onto TANF by the stimulus. TANF does not just provide welfare benefits for low-income parents with children, but also runs numerous jobs programs. The Emergency Fund helped employ 240,000 people by providing jobs subsidies — and became so successful that President Obama requested an extension of the program, and $2.5 billion for it for the next fiscal year. Pavetti writes:
The House has voted twice to extend the fund, a 2009 Recovery Act program …. The costs of the House extensions were fully offset so they wouldn’t add a penny to the deficit. But in the Senate, an extension has been part of larger bills that have stalled due to conflicts over provisions unrelated to the fund. What happens if Congress fails to act before the fund expires?
Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs. ** The impact will be felt across the nation, in urban and rural areas alike, but will be especially great in the places with the largest programs and above-average unemployment rates. In Illinois, for example, about 20,000 participants could lose their jobs, which by itself could increase the unemployment rate from 10.4 to 10.7 percent. In Los Angeles, as many as 10,000 individuals could lose their jobs, potentially raising unemployment from 12.3 to 12.5 percent.**
Most state programs will largely or totally shut down. Most of the 37 states operating subsidized employment programs created them to respond to the recession, and all of these states agree that the programs are still needed. Yet many of the programs — including most of the largest ones — will have to close their doors on September 30 if Congress doesn’t extend the fund; others plan to greatly scale back operations (see map).
Point being, while the unemployment extension passed, dozens of other programs have not — meaning less stimulus funding, and lost jobs.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill
New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S
EPA Chief Overruled Calif. Waiver, Too
The Washington Post reported in March that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was overruled by the White House in setting an ozone standard. Now, documents