Press Release

Economic Recovery Package Could Deliver Tens of Billions to Texas

Cuellar: "What Incredible News for South Texas"

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Washington, January 15, 2009 | Thomas Seay (202-225-1640) | comments
The U.S. House of Representatives will soon vote on the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which will invest $825 billion dollars in the American economy to create millions of jobs and jumpstart the economic recovery.
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The U.S. House of Representatives will soon vote on the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which will invest $825 billion dollars in the American economy to create millions of jobs and jumpstart the economic recovery.

A draft of the legislation unveiled today by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee includes $550 billion in targeted spending and $275 billion in economic recovery tax cuts.  Among the proposed funds are tens of billions of dollars for Texas.

“What incredible news for South Texas,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar.  “In these dark economic times, the prospect of such significant investments in border communities is tremendously encouraging.”

Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), who chairs the powerful Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and who played a central role in drafting the legislation, praised Congressman Cuellar’s support for border investment.

 "Congressman Cuellar's voice has been key to ensuring that the economic recovery package invests in land ports, border levees, rural broadband, and other projects to help southern Texas,” Congressman Serrano said.  “He came to me various times to make sure that we included these projects in the stimulus package.  His efforts are making a real difference for border communities struggling in today's turbulent economy."

Among the legislation’s provisions that would directly benefit South Texas:

  • Border Ports of Entry:  $1.15 billion to construct GSA and Customs and Border Patrol land ports of entry to improve border security, make trade and travel easier, and reduce wait times, and to procure non-intrusive inspection technology at sea ports of entry.
  • International Boundary and Water Commission:  $224 million to repair flood control systems along the international segment of the Rio Grande damaged by Hurricane Katrina and other serious storms.
  • Rural Water and Waste Disposal:  $1.5 billion to support $3.8 billion in grants and loans to help communities fund drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.  In 2008, there were $2.4 billion in requests for water and waste loans, and $990 million for water and waste grants went unfunded.
  • Wireless and Broadband Grants:  $6 billion for broadband and wireless services in underserved areas to strengthen the economy and provide business and job opportunities in every section of America with benefits to e-commerce, education, and health care.  For every dollar invested in broadband, the economy sees a ten-fold return on that investment.
  • Rural Community Facilities:  $200 million to support $1.2 billion in grants and loans to rural areas for critical community facilities, such as for health care, education, fire and rescue, day care, community centers, and libraries.  There are over $1.2 billion in applications pending.
  • Health Information Technology:  $20 billion to jumpstart efforts to computerize health records to cut costs and reduce medical errors. 
  • DTV Conversion Coupons:  $650 million to continue the coupon program to enable American households to convert from analog television transmission to digital transmission.  These funds are especially crucial to border communities, where a disproportionate number of residents are not yet prepared for the DTV transition.
  • School Construction:  $20 billion, including $14 billion for K-12 and $6 billion for higher education, for renovation and modernization, including technology upgrades and energy efficiency improvements.  Also includes $1 billion for 21st century classrooms, including computer and science labs and teacher technology training.
  • Child Care Development Block Grant:  $2 billion to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work.  Today only one out of seven eligible children receives care.
  • Training and Employment Services:  $4 billion for job training including formula grants for adult, dislocated workers, and youth services (including $1.2 billion to create up to one million summer jobs for youths).

Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the House Homeland Security and Agriculture Committees in the 111th Congress.  Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip. 

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