The details will continue to roll out as analysts actually get a chance to read the 1,071 page bill was which voted on before anyone had a chance to read the whole thing. The bill, which was passed with a warning of urgency, will be signed in Denver by Barack Obama on February 17th.
Here is some of what we've learned.
In the Senate the vote was 60 to 38 in favor of the bill. If your U.S. Senator is a Democrat, the answer is "Yes." Every Democrat present voted to pass Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The two Independent Senators also voted for the bill. They were Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
In addition, three moderate Republicans voted yes. They were, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Susan Collins of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
In the House the vote was 286 to 183 in favor of the bill. If your Representative is a Republican, the answer is "No." All House Republicans voted against the plan.
In addition, seven Democrat House members voted against the plan. They include:
Bobby Bright, Alabama
Peter DeFazio, Oregon
Parker Griffith, Alabama
Walt Minnick, Idaho
Collin Peterson, Minnesota
Heath Shuler, North Carolina
Gene Taylor, Mississippi
Controversial issues within the stimulus plan -- to name just a few
Bloomberg News reports that financial institutions that receive federal funds will be expected to follow stricter rules for hiring foreign workers under the H-1b visa program. These are the visas that U.S. businesses seek in order to hire highly trained workers from overseas. This provision prohibits companies seeking H-1b visas from dismissing employees in similar positions for 90 days before and 90 days after requesting the visa. The company will have to prove that, before hiring overseas, they made every effort to recruit a U.S. worker first. Critics point out that this measure allows the government to limit the ability of a business to do what it deems necessary to earn a profit. It may also force American businesses to hire or retain substandard workers.
Construction projects that receive federal funding will be required to "buy American" when purchasing materials, restricting the use of foreign steel and other products on infrastructure. This provision will not require that project managers violate international trade agreements. Some warn that it may be a return to the disastrous days in 1929 when the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act forced the country into the depths of financial recession.
Critics of the entire bill ask - if immediate passage of this bill is as important as we were told, requiring its passage before anyone had time to read it – why did Obama allow it to be filled up with entitlement spending and health reform proposals? These plans are not stimulative and will involve either tax increases or benefit cuts or both. The health care technology reforms were part of the plans laid out by Tom Daschle, who withdrew his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services after it was made public that he'd failed to pay his taxes. His political ambitions may have been spoiled, but it appears his push for socialized medicine got the nod from the Democrats in Congress who passed this stimulus plan. Daschle advocated getting the "desired reforms" by hiding them in an unrelated bill – such as this one - where they would be less likely to be noticed by the public and passed before there would be time for public outcry.
You can read the complete text of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.