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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Washington State Could Receive $3 Billion to Invest in Infrastructure, Support Small Businesses and Create Nearly 80,000 Jobs

Cantwell Moves to Create Green Manufacturing Jobs; Increase Construction of Affordable Housing

Wednesday, February 11,2009

WASHINGTON, D.C -- Today, the U.S. Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that included measures secured by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to increase unemployment compensation and health care for Washingtonians, incentives to build more affordable housing, and to create new green manufacturing jobs and provide tax relief to consumers buying new plug-in vehicles.
Due to Cantwell’s efforts, Washington state is poised to receive: up to $2.02 billion in increased Medicaid funding to provide the most vulnerable with access to health care; an additional 33 weeks of unemployment benefits for the more than 136,000 Washingtonians; funds that could be used to clean up Hanford; increased borrowing authority for Bonneville Power Administration; and, approximately $3 billion to invest in infrastructure, creating nearly 80,000 good-paying jobs, providing job training and education, and making communities stronger and safer.
“More than 200,000 job cuts have been announced this year, and in Washington state, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 7.1 percent,” said Cantwell.  “We still have a long way to go to get our economy back on track.  However, with this federal support, Washington state will be able to make investments in infrastructure projects and improvements, create jobs, provide training and education, provide the neediest among us with health care, and invest in areas critical to the development of clean, renewable energy technologies.”
In addition to extending unemployment benefits and increasing Medicaid funding for Washington state, Cantwell was also instrumental in securing a provision to create new green manufacturing jobs and provide tax relief to consumers buying new plug-in vehicles.  Cantwell’s amendment will provide manufacturers of plug-in electric vehicles and components with a tax incentive for increased investment; provide consumers with tax relief when they purchase electric vehicles currently on the market; provide utilities with the flexibility they need to deploy smart grid technologies; and, increase access to recharging stations for electric vehicle owners.
“While we look for ways to reinvigorate our economy and create new, high-paying jobs, we must also provide businesses the certainty they need in the tax code to make investments now,” said Cantwell. “We need to take advantage of new technologies to bring our cars and trucks up to speed, and we must invest in our grid and take it from a two-lane dirt road to a four-lane superhighway. The incentives included in the economic recovery package and this amendment will do just that, while at the same time creating jobs and saving American taxpayers the dollars they desperately need.”
In Washington, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would:
  • Create or save 79,700 jobs over the next two years.  Jobs created will be in a range of industries from clean energy to health care, with more than 90 percent in the private sector.
  • Provide a making work pay tax cut of up to $1,000 for 2.45 million workers and their families. 
  • Provide small businesses with access to credit.  Increasing access to credit will enable small businesses to continue operating and grow, and create thousands of jobs.
  • Increase funding for environmental cleanup.  An estimated $1.8 billion could be used for clean up at Hanford.
  • Increase Bonneville Power Administration’s borrowing authority. Increasing BPA’s borrowing authority will allow them to meet future demand and adopt new types of renewable energy sources.  An estimated 50,000 and ancillary green jobs, and allow 4,700 megawatts of new renewable resources to come online in the next two years.
  • Make 67,000 families eligible for a new American Opportunity Tax Credit to make college affordable.  By creating a new $2,500 partially refundable tax credit for four-years of college, this plan will give 3.8 million families nationwide, and 67,000 families in Washington state, new assistance for college.
  • Offer an additional $100 per month in unemployment insurance benefits to 404,000 workers in Washington who have lost their jobs, and provide extended unemployment benefits to an additional 44,000 laid-off workers.