For Immediate Release: February 13, 2009
Economic Recovery Package Signicant Step Toward Shoring Up the Safety Net
(Washington D.C.) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that lawmakers are expected to send to President Obama in the coming days is a significant and welcome first step in shoring up the nation’s tattered safety net and ensuring the most vulnerable Americans share the benefits of economic recovery, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) said today.
“This recovery package recognizes that shoring up the safety net is an important part of economic recovery,” said Alan Houseman, executive director of CLASP. “Investing in American workers and families so that they can better meet their basic needs and contribute to the nation’s economy is one of the best ways to strengthen the economy, both in the short term and for years to come.”
CLASP published an analysis (Preliminary Summary of Key Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Aimed at Improving the Lives of Low-Income Americans) that outlines provisions in the economic recovery package that affect low-income Americans. Following are some key provisions that boost funding for key safety net programs:
· Child Care and Community Development Block Grant: The Recovery Act provides $2.1 billion in new discretionary funding for CCDBG.
· Head Start/Early Head Start: The Recovery Act includes a $2.1 billion investment in Head Start ($1 billion) and Early Head Start ($1.1 billion). The Act designates funds for training, technical assistance and monitoring in the Early Head Start program.
· Child Support Enforcement: The Recovery Act temporarily reverses a 20 percent cut to federal child support program funds (through Sept. 2010) made by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
· Workforce Investment Act (WIA): The Recovery Act provides $2.95 billion for the Adult, Youth, and Dislocated Worker employment and training programs. The Act also prioritizes use of adult funds for public assistance recipients and other low-income individuals.
· Unemployment Insurance: The recovery act provides incentives to states that expand unemployment eligibility, and it includes a federally funded $25 boost to weekly benefits.
· Child Tax Credit: The recovery act expands eligibility for the child tax credit, which will benefit more low-income Americans.
· Earned Income Tax Credit: The Recovery Act temporarily creates a new “third tier” of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for families with three or more qualifying children.
· Pell Grants: The Recovery Act provides $15.6 billion for Pell Grants to low-income students, increasing the maximum grant by $500 for two years, to $5,350 in 2009-2010, and $5,550 in 2010-2011.
CLASP’s analysis of the program includes more details as well as a more thorough listing of programs that help low-income Americans. To view CLASP’s complete analysis of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, click here.
CLASP develops and advocates for policies at the federal, state and local levels that improve the lives of low-income people. We focus on policies that strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy, we develop and promote new ideas, mobilize others, and directly assist governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America.