Senate - $47 billion to provide extended unemployment benefits through Dec. 31, increased by $25 a week, and provide job training; $16.5 billion to increase food stamp benefits by 12 percent through fiscal 2011 and issue a one-time bonus payment; $3 billion in temporary welfare payments.
House — Comparable extension of unemployment insurance; $20 billion to increase food stamp benefits by 14 percent; $2.5 billion in temporary welfare payments; $1 billion for home heating subsidies and $1 billion for community action agencies.
Direct cash payments
Senate — $17 billion to give one-time $300 payments to recipients of Supplemental Security Income and Social Security, and veterans receiving disability and pensions.
House — $4 billion to provide a one-time additional Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance payment to the elderly, of $450 for individuals and $630 for married couples.
Conference - $250 one-time payment to each recipient of Supplemental Security Income, Social Security (Regular & Disability) Insurance, Veterans pension, Railroad Retirement, or State retirement system.
Senate — $46 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair and $11.5 billion for mass transit and rail projects; $4.6 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers; $5 billion for public housing improvements; $6.4 billion for clean and drinking water projects.
House — $47 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair and $12 billion for mass transit, including $7.5 billion to buy transit equipment such as buses; and $31 billion to build and repair federal buildings and other public infrastructures.
Senate — $21 billion to subsidize the cost of continuing health care insurance for the involuntarily unemployed under the COBRA program; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid; $22 billion to modernize health information technology systems; and $10 billion for health research and construction of National Institutes of Health facilities.
House — $40 billion to subsidize the cost of continuing health care insurance for the involuntarily unemployed under the COBRA program or provide health care through Medicaid; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid; $20 billion to modernize health information technology systems; $4 billion for preventative care; $1.5 billion for community health centers; $420 million to combat avian flu; $335 million for programs that combat AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.
Conference - A 65% COBRA subsidy for 9 months will apply to workers laid off between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009. Those already laid off have 60 days to apply for COBRA.
Senate — $55 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cuts in education aid and provide block grants; $25 billion to school districts to fund special education and the No Child Left Behind K-12 law; $14 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $400 to $5,250; $2 billion for Head Start.
House — Similar aid to states and school districts; $21 billion for school modernization; $16 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350; $2 billion for Head Start.
Conference - The Conference Report merged most education aid with the State Fiscal Stabilization fund (administered by the Department of Education)and gave power over the funds to each governor under voluminous restrictions. The Governor is "Required" to spend $45 billion of the money on education to restore funding to 2008 levels but the mechanisms to enforce state maintenance of effort at 2005-06 levels are complex and potentially impossible to implement. Hard hit states such as Nevada cannot possibly find enough funds to get to the 2005-06 state funding levels for education. Some states with no current budget cuts for education, such as Arkansas and North Carolina, may get nothing. This will result in a monumental 50 state legal and political fight over how to re-budget to best take advantage of the Federal legislation. Many states will further reduce state funds for education to the 2005-06 minimum so these state resources can be used for other state priorities and the net gain for education will be far less than the total Federal appropriation.
Senate — $40 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including $2.9 billion to weatherize modest-income homes; $4.6 billion for fossil fuel research and development; $6.4 billion to clean up nuclear weapons production sites; $11 billion toward a so-called smart electricity grid to reduce waste; $8.5 billion to subsidize loans for renewable energy projects; and $2 billion for advanced battery systems.
House — $28.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including $6.2 billion to weatherize homes; $11 billion to fund a smart electricity grid.
Senate — $4.7 billion for homeland security programs, including $1 billion for airport screening equipment and $800 million for port security.
House — $1.1 billion, including $500 million for airport screening equipment.
Senate — $3.5 billion in grants to state and local law enforcement to hire officers and purchase equipment.
House — Comparable provision.
Taxes ($275 billion)
New tax credit
House— About $145 billion for $500 per-worker, $1,000 per-couple tax credits in 2009 and 2010. For the last half of 2009, workers could expect to see about $20 a week less withheld from their paychecks starting around June. Millions of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes could file returns next year and receive checks. Individuals making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000 would receive reduced amounts.
Senate — The credit would phase out at incomes of $70,000 for individuals and couples making more than $140,000 and phase out more quickly, reducing the cost to $140 billion.
Conference- Tax Credit reduced to $400 per worker and $800 per couple in 2009 and 2010 and phaseout begins at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers. Note retirees with no wages get nothing.
Alternative minimum tax
House — No provision.
Senate — About $70 billion to prevent 24 million taxpayers from paying the alternative minimum tax in 2009. The tax was designed to make sure wealthy taxpayers can’t use credits and deductions to avoid paying any taxes or paying at a far lower rate than would otherwise be possible. But it was never indexed to inflation, so critics now contend it taxes people it was not intended to. Congress addresses it each year, usually in the fall.
Conference - Includes a one year increase in AMT floor to $70,950 for joint filers for 2009.
Expanded child credit
House — $18.3 billion to give greater access to the $1,000 per-child tax credit for low income workers in 2009 and 2010. Under current law, workers must make at least $12,550 to receive any portion of the credit. The change eliminates the floor, meaning more workers who pay no federal income taxes could receive checks.
Senate — Sets a new income threshold of $8,100 to receive any portion of the credit, reducing the cost to $7.5 billion.
Conference - The income floor for refunds was set at $3,000 for 2009 & 2010.
Expanded earned income tax credit
House — $4.7 billion to increase the earned income tax credit — which provides money to low income workers — for families with at least three children.
Senate — Same.
House — No similar provision.
Senate — $4.7 billion to exclude from taxation the first $2,400 a person receives in unemployment compensation benefits in 2009.