Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Chet Edwards supported passage of H.R. 1, the final House-Senate conference report of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a much-needed economic recovery plan that will help combat our nation’s severe recession, create jobs, and stabilize the economy.
“This stimulus bill is needed to help pull our economy out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. In the last three months alone, 1.6 million hard-working Americans have lost their jobs. That is more than double the population of our 12-county congressional district. If we don’t take bold action now, unemployment will get worse, families’ retirement savings will be hit even harder and the recession could deepen,” said Edwards.
“This bill will create and save over 260,000 Texas jobs, including 8,500 jobs in our district, and provides tax cuts to 95 percent of working families. It will double funding for Texas highway construction, and modernize our schools, veterans’ hospitals and military barracks. I believe that bold action to create new jobs is far better than a Herbert Hoover, ‘just say no’ approach, which is why I join with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Association of Homebuilders in supporting this recovery bill.”
Edwards, who chairs the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, was responsible for crafting the portion of the economic recovery plan that invests $2.9 billion for military construction, and over $1.4 billion for VA facilities. The funding provides for much-needed jobs through targeted investments to improve the quality of life for our service members and veterans, support the National Guard and Reserve. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, these construction funds will create and sustain nearly 100,000 jobs.
“We honor these brave Americans and their families with better health care, housing and child care for military children. We are creating jobs with this bill, but we are also creating something lasting for those brave Americans who sacrifice everyday for our nation,” said Edwards.
The bill also includes incentives for businesses to hire unemployed veterans. Under the Act, businesses can claim a work opportunity tax credit equal to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages paid to a newly hired veteran.
Military Construction Funding in H.R.1 Conference Report
• Hospitals: $1.33 billion to re-capitalize our aging military hospitals and ambulatory centers. Many of these facilities are 40 or even 50 years old, and are not suited to current medical standards and practices.
• Troop and family housing: $335 million to build new barracks and dormitories for our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen as well as further investments in quality family housing.
• Childcare: $240 million for new child development centers on base. These facilities will help military spouses hold down jobs, and provide employment opportunities for caregivers.
• National Guard: $100 million for the Army and Air National Guard. This will support our reservists who have been heavily deployed in recent years, as well as States who need Guard units for disaster assistance and homeland security.
• Homeowners Assistance Fund: $555 million for assistance to military homeowners, including wounded warriors and surviving spouses, who have been impacted by the housing crisis.
• Wounded Warriors: $100 million for warrior transition complexes to provide services to wounded warriors and their families.
• Energy Conservation Investment Program: $120 million to make military facilities more energy efficient and save taxpayers money.
Veterans Affairs Funding in H.R. 1 Conference Report
• Medical Facilities: $1.0 billion for non-recurring maintenance, including energy projects, to address deficiencies and avoid serious maintenance problems at the 153 VA hospitals.
National Cemetery Administration: $50 million for memorial maintenance, including those identified in the 2002 Millennium Act report to Congress, for the National Cemetery Administration. These funds will enable the National Cemetery Administration to work toward an established set of cemetery standards of appearance throughout the system.
• Claims Processors: $150 million for a temporary increase in claims processing staff.
• Information Technology Systems: $50 million to improve automation of benefits processing.
• State Extended Care Facilities: $150 million for grants to States for extended care facilities.
For information, contact Edwards office at phone: 202-225-3047 17th District, Texas, 2369 Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C. 20515; 202-225-6105. or contact U.S. Rep. Edwards at