With the House passing a huge $819 billion economic recovery package this week with only Democratic support, but the Senate expected to pass a similar but more expensive (try $888 billion) bipartisan bill soon, all talk is centered on how big the bill is, and whether it will do the job it is intended to do.
Some Republicans are questioning whether economic recovery is really the focus, given the wide array of spending laid out in the House bill, for education, health care, energy, environment and other initiatives. As a political strategy, passing policy initiatives that would be difficult to approve as part of an economic recovery bill seen as essential may work for progressives who support those policies. Whether the bill successfully jump starts and sustains the economy is the big question.
Environmental groups were fawning over the House bill, which Al Gore had personally lobbied for and which, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council's tally, paves the way for:
The House is getting on board with moving America to a clean energy economy. President Obama and Congress are investing in solutions that will help solve our economic and energy challenges together," said Wesley Warren, NRDC's director of programs. "By repowering our nation with clean energy, we will create millions of jobs that can't be sent overseas. By harnessing the energy of the sun and wind, we can refuel our nation and end our addiction to oil."
The Sierra Club, too, had praise for the House bill:
"President Obama and the House have laid out a bold plan for stimulating our struggling economy by investing in clean energy technologies and green jobs," said Melinda Pierce, Sierra Clubs deputy director of national campaigns. "These initiatives are a win-win for a strong economy and a healthier environment. By focusing on critical investments in repair and modernization of infrastructure, and boosting production of renewable energy, they will create good jobs here in America and reduce our dependence on dirtier energy sources like oil and coal."
The Sierra Club pegged clean energy spending at $100 billion.
But the bill isn't all green, and the pork is spread far and wide. (Ewww, that's a disgusting image.) The Senate is apparently putting in $4.6 billion for coal and $50 billion for the nuclear industry.
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