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Congressional Briefs: Fudge, Lee, Scott

Barbara Lee Applauds White House Announcement of Additional Social Security Benefits through Economic Recovery Package

By Staff

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2009, 1:45 a.m. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) applauded announcement by Vice President Joe Biden and Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, that the federal government will send out $250 economic recovery payments to people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits beginning in early May 2009 and continuing throughout the month.  No action is required to get the payment, which will be sent separately from the person’s regular monthly payment.

“This is another example of how this recovery package is working for the American people,” said Lee. “Again, I applaud the Obama Administration for their leadership on this issue and providing these much needed resources to get the America people back on their feet.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for a one-time payment of $250 to adult Social Security beneficiaries, and to SSI recipients, except those receiving Medicaid in care facilities.  To receive the payment the individual must be eligible for Social Security or SSI during the months of November 2008, December 2008 or January 2009. 

The legislation also provides for a one-time payment to Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries.  The VA and RRB will be responsible for paying individuals under their respective programs.  However, if someone receives Social Security and SSI, VA or RRB benefits, he or she will receive only one $250 payment.  People getting Social Security or SSI should not contact the agency unless a payment is not received by June 4, 2009.

To learn more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, go to www.recovery.gov.

Fudge applauds road project

Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) was elated by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's announcement. Strickland announced that 149 transportation infrastructure projects, which create an estimated 21,257 statewide jobs, have been prioritized for full or partial funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resources. At the top of the list are two much needed projects in Cleveland, the fortification of the Inner Belt Bridge and the creation of an Opportunity Corridor.

Through these projects, ODOT aims to address the city’s most-pressing transportation concern by targeting $200 million in stimulus funds, combined with approximately $200 million in additional state and federal dollars, to build a new five-lane westbound I-90 Inner Belt Bridge. At the same time, the state will invest $20 million to advance the planning and design of the Opportunity Corridor, a proposed 3.3-mile urban roadway to connect I-490 to the growing University Circle area.

"These projects create good, valuable jobs and put Ohioans back to work quickly. Within Cleveland, I cannot think of greater infrastructure needs than the Inner Belt Bridge and the Opportunity Corridor.

"I applaud Gov. Strickland for executing a fair and open process for transportation grants. The establishment of www.recovery.ohio.gov allowed every Ohio municipality, business and other entity to submit grant requests. I am confident that the rest of the process will be just as transparent," said Rep. Fudge, who voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Federal transportation stimulus funds totaling $774 million will be spent in nearly every Ohio county. Based on federal calculations for transportation investment, an estimated 21,257 jobs will be created or retained through these stimulus projects with thousands of additional jobs likely to be spurred by the economic development that occurs as a result of the projects.

Scott announces project

Representative David Scott announced that federal grants totaling over $16 million will be awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to local governments in the 13th District.  The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program (EECBG), funded by President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides formula grants used to assist states and local governments in implementing strategies to reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency.   

Grant funds awarded to local governments in the 13th District include: 

  • Clayton County          $2,545,900
  • Cobb County $5,288,500
  • Dekalb County           $6,511,600
  • Fulton County             $814,300
  • Henry County $751,000
  • City of Marietta         $785,500
  • City of Smyrna           $208,000

Activities eligible to receive funding include: conducting residential and commercial building energy audits; establishing financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements; grants to non-profit organizations to perform energy efficiency retrofits; developing/implementing programs to conserve energy used in transportation; developing and implementing building codes and inspection services to promote building energy efficiency; installing light emitting diodes (LEDs); and developing, implementing, and installing on or in any government building onsite renewable energy technology that generates electricity from renewable sources. 

For more details on the EECBG program and funding, please visit www.energy.gov/recovery.  To learn more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, visit www.recovery.gov.

Fudge announces public housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that public housing authorities have  nearly $3 billion  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds available for  improvements to public housing  nationwide.   Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is slated to receive $35,068,004 in funding.

The announcement demonstrates one of the ways in which the Recovery Act creates jobs while beginning the process of filling a backlog of previously underfunded capital improvement projects.

Recovery Act funding provided through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund Program is effectively improving public housing by doubling the Department’s annual support of the local housing authority.    Allocated through an established formula, this funding will allow local housing agencies to address the long-standing need to improve public housing, create jobs, and increase energy efficiency.  HUD will also make an additional $1 billion in competitive capital funding available for housing authorities. 

Indeed, HUD’s Capital Fund Program provides annual funding for public housing.  It sets aside funds to develop, finance, and/or modernize public housing units while also making large-scale improvements such as  the installation of energy efficient plumbing, electrical systems, and roofing.  

 "Americans are turning to public agencies for housing assistance in record numbers. CMHA strives to maintain solid public housing.  With such a major strain on their services, I know  more could and should be done to help them. Fortunately, the Recovery Act provides significant aid," said Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who voted for the Recovery Act.

For more information on this announcement, please, visit http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/capfund/ocir.cfm.

Fudge announces grants 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $100 million in new discretionary grants  for public transportation projects reducing transit  greenhouse gas emissions or decreasing transit energy use. 

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released the details of that program known as Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER).

Projects compete for TIGGER funds based on a percentage formula. Each project must demonstrate that its proposed capital investment will reduce energy consumption and/or greenhouse gases. The maximum amount of funding proposed  is $25 million. The minimum is $2 million. The FTA permits  multiple transit agencies to consolidation projects  and allows consolidation of submittals by larger agencies like the State Department of Transportation, in an effort to  reach  minimum levels. Project grants will be distributed  directly to public transportation agencies. In addition to judging the  anticipated reduction in energy or greenhouse gasses, FTA will rate each projects’ level of innovation, readiness of implementation, are  ready to implement, have capacity to perform, and the national applicability of the  project.

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On its website, the FTA has posted application instructions,  answers to common questions, and made a calculator available to assist in formulating considerations  on energy consumption and  greenhouse gas emission reduction. The website is  at www.fta.dot.gov. Complete proposals for the TIGGER Grant Program must be submitted by May 22, 2009.

Barbara Lee Commemorates World Tuberculosis Day

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) released the following statement commemorating World Tuberculosis Day:

“TB is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world today.  Even though it is completely curable, TB kills over 2 million people worldwide each year. Some 30 percent of the world's population, or approximately two billion people, are infected with the tuberculosis bacilli, and one in ten of these people will become sick with active tuberculosis.

“As the leading killer of people infected with HIV, it is critical that we address the global tuberculosis pandemic if we are ever going to achieve success in defeating HIV/AIDS.

“During the last Congress I co-authored the United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, which reauthorized our global AIDS, TB and Malaria programs and authorized $4 billion in funding for bilateral TB initiatives over the next five years.  It was an important step forward, but we must continue our fight.

 “I encourage everyone to learn more about TB, as well as the deadly impact of malaria and the global AIDS pandemic on the developing world.  With your activism and your help we can increases funding to stop these diseases and save the lives of millions of people.”

As part of the Millennium Development Goals, the world has set its sights on halting and beginning the reverse of tuberculosis incidence by 2015. For more information about tuberculosis and the Global Fund's work to eliminate this disease, please visit "Global Fund and the Three Diseases" at www.TheGlobalFight.org

Barbara Lee Receives Humane Advocate Award

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was presented with the Humane Champion Award by the Humane Society of the United States. This award is given to legislators who received a perfect score on the 2008 Humane Scorecard.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” said Lee. “I join with the nearly 20,000 supporters of the Humane Society in my district and the more than 11 millions supporters nationwide in applauding this wonderful organization on their continued efforts to end the cruelty, exploitation and neglect that so many animals are subjected to daily.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Commemorates Cover the Uninsured Week

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) released the following statement commemorating Cover the Uninsured Week:

“America’s healthcare system is at a crisis level. Not only does it need to be reformed, but it needs a complete overhaul. Over 45 million individuals in America have no health insurance.  While Congress took an important step this year to cover 11 million uninsured children, there are still millions of Americans who stand in need of healthcare.

“Being uninsured means going without needed care. It means minor illnesses become major ones because care is delayed. Tragically, it also means that one significant medical expense can wipe out a family’s entire life savings. There are millions of working, uninsured Americans who go to bed every night worrying what will happen to them and their families if a major illness or injury strikes.

“The problem is getting worse. As the price of health care continues to rise, fewer individuals and families can afford to pay for coverage. Fewer small businesses are able to provide coverage for their employees, and those that do are struggling to hold on to the coverage they offer. Additionally, access to health care directly impacts the welfare of individuals in many poor and minority communities.  Of the uninsured, 56 percent are low income, and although minorities make up approximately 34 percent of the population, they comprise over half of the nation’s uninsured.
 

“The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide universal health care. It is time we put in place high quality comprehensive care for all, regardless of one’s ability to pay. We must become a health care provider, not a denier of this fundamental right.”  

Barbara Lee Applauds Announcement of Recovery Funds for Berkeley Lab

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) hailed the announcement by the Obama Administration that the Lawrence Berkeley Lab would receive $115.8 million dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds are part of $1.2 billion announced by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu from funding allocated under the Recovery Act to Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science.

The funds directed to the Berkeley Lab will be used for projects including: accelerating the construction of the Advanced Light Source User Support Building; supporting advanced materials, energy, and biology research and; a range of important laboratory improvements under a seismic safety initiative, including construction and renovation to create a Life Sciences Research Cluster, to support advanced biological research for DOE missions.

“For America to remain globally competitive in the field of science and technology we must be willing to invest in our future,” said Lee. “The projects funded through this recovery plan will give a much needed boost to our scientific and engineering workforce and infrastructure along with providing both short and long-term economic relief to communities like Berkeley and others that are feeling the pinch of these tough economic times. I applaud the Obama Administration for this very important initiative.”

Lee applauds Liberian decision

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement  applauding President Obama’s decision concerning roughly 3,600 Liberians living within the United States whose Deferred Enforced Departure is set to expire at the end of the month. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to the president earlier this month urging him to take this action:

“The announcement by the administration to extend the Deferred Enforced Departure is a timely and prudent decision that will help keep the peace and stability in Liberia, one of Africa’s oldest republics and one of America’s closest allies on the continent.

“While conditions have improved in Liberia since the civil war ended in 1996, they are far from ideal. Liberia is deeply in debt, has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world and sporadic violence threatens to upset the peace transition to Democracy.

“The U.S. has played a critical role in assisting Liberia’s recovery and this action stays true to our commitment to ensuring that its post-war rebuilding efforts result in lasting peace, national development, poverty reduction and improved governance.

“The decision by the administration to extend the Deferred Enforced Departure is an important action that has been long sought by the Congressional Black Caucus, with the strong leadership on this issue by Reps. Donald Payne of New Jersey and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.”

Barbara Lee Hails Announcement of Economic Recovery Package Funds for Oakland

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) applauded the announcement of nearly $30 million in federal funding for homeless prevention, housing and services for Alameda County, including $7.5 million in new funds through the economic recovery package.

“With the California unemployment rate currently at a staggering 10.5 percent, these funds will be essential to giving the city of Oakland and the entire state of California a much needed economic boost,” said Lee. “I look forward to working with the City of Oakland and the entire 9th CD as we continue to put these critical funds to work in our communities and to get our economy back on track.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by congress and signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. In the first 30 days since signing of the recovery act, California has received over $32 Billion in funding and stands to receive additional funding in the coming months.

Lee Statement on Passing of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement after learning of the passing of noted historian John Hope Franklin:

“Today our nation lost a mighty scholar and soldier for justice. We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of John Hope Franklin as we remember his trailblazing achievements in a variety of fields.

“For many African Americans our first introduction to black history was through Dr. Franklin’s book From Slavery to Freedom. In its pages we found an account of American history that affirmed the dignity of black people and the nobility of our struggle.

“Dr. Franklin was not only a noted historian, but also living history himself. His accomplishments are as many as they are great.

“One of Dr. Franklin’s earliest and most important contributions was as a member of the team of scholars who worked with Thurgood Marshall to win the landmark school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education.

“Today we greatly mourn Dr. Franklin’s passing and the loss of his wise counsel, but we will be forever grateful for his lasting contributions.”

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