The Recovery Act Blog

  • The Recovery Act: Laying the Foundation for America’s 21st Century Clean Energy Economy

    Last week, I spoke at two events that helped underscore the extent to which President Obama’s Recovery Act is paving the way for a clean energy economy.

    Before an audience of green affordable housing developers at the Communities of the Institute for Professional and Executive Development (IPED) annual conference, I highlighted four ways HUD is using the lessons of the Recovery Act to make this possible—first, by upgrading and retrofitting 230,000 units of HUD’s affordable housing stock to high green standards by the end of this summer; second, by providing new tools to property owners that demonstrate which green improvements they can make and the savings they can generate; third, by using the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to catalyze new forms of green retrofit financing for single- and multi-family housing; and fourth, by forging interagency partnerships across government to weatherize homes and help clusters of communities work together to reduce the combined cost of housing and transportation.  

  • The Vice President and the Recovery Act on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    On Tuesday, Vice President Biden continued his Recovery Summer tour at Grand Canyon National Park.  Standing in front of the beautiful overlook at Hopi Point on the south rim of the canyon, we spoke with Roger Geiger, a construction worker who is helping to rehabilitate housing for the Havasupai tribe. Roger talked with us about how this particular Recovery Act project was helping him put food on the table and save for his children’s education.

    Vice President Joe Biden Discusses the Recovery Act on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    Vice President Joe Biden talks about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and its impact on National Parks on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, July 27, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

  • The Vice President & the Recovery Act Go to Yellowstone

    Ed. Note: Also watch a video of President Obama and his family's visit to Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2009 along with some historical context.

    On Monday, I joined Vice President Biden at Yellowstone National Park as he continued his Recovery Summer tour.  Under overcast skies, we walked up a new gravel road to see the construction of the new Madison wastewater treatment plant, a $4.6 million project that will service the campground in this beautiful part of the park. This project replaces the weary wastewater plant, constructed in 1959, which was not built to meet today’s wastewater treatment needs or function throughout the year. The new design will be less visible from the main road and with its new treatment technology (better bugs as the project manager told us) no longer waft offensive odors over the campers. The work at Madison is being done by Dick Anderson Construction – a contractor based out of Bozeman, Montana. Ed Venetz, VP for the company spoke about how the ARRA funds have really helped keep his workers employed and how much he likes projects like this one in the National Parks. Ed later introduced the Vice President to a back drop of the Madison Valley and National Park Peak, the site of the legendary campfire where the idea of National Parks was born.  

    Vice President Biden at Yellowstone National Park

    Vice President Joe Biden meets Director of the National Parks Jon Jarvis before touring a recovery act project in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, July 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

  • Affordable Housing in the Recovery Summer

    Access to affordable housing is a challenge facing communities across the country. But the Recovery Act is helping our nation meet that challenge head on by providing states with cash to help them finance low-income housing construction at a time when too many projects would otherwise be stalled. These projects are helping revitalize communities through both the creation of new affordable housing developments and the tens of thousands of jobs being created to build them.

    Yesterday, I joined D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, officials from the D.C. office of Housing and Community Development, representatives of Vida Senior Residences – and even some of the building’s future residents – to break ground on an affordable housing development made possible with more than $6.8 million in Recovery Act funding.  When it’s complete, The Vida Senior Residences at Brightwood in Washington, DC will provide 36 affordable apartments for low-income seniors.  And while it’s under construction, this project will create an estimated 55 full-time construction jobs.

    U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty Break Ground on an Affordable Housing Development

    As part of the Administration’s Recovery Summer outreach, Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios joined DC Mayor Adrian Fenty to break ground on the Vida Senior Residences at Brightwood 36-unit affordable apartment building for low-income seniors in D.C. financed with more than $6.8 million in Recovery Act funds. Photo Credit: Sandra Salstrom, Treasury Department.

  • "Why, 17 Months After Passage of the Recovery Act, Aren’t all the Funds Out the Door?"

    Nearly a year and a half after the Recovery Act’s enactment, virtually all of the funds have been allocated: how they will be spent has been identified, and they are at work providing relief, creating jobs, or funding projects underway or coming soon. So why do some critics still talk about billions in “unspent” Recovery Act funds? The answer lies in how the Recovery Act works.

    Two-thirds of Recovery Act funds are in tax cuts and relief payments. These funds were designed to be spent over time, generally over a two year period. Recovery Act tax cuts show up in each paycheck, people on extended unemployment get their benefits weekly, and so on. In reports and on, the tax cuts and relief funds not yet paid out appear to be “unspent,” creating some confusion. But these tax cuts and relief checks are moving out as planned, on time, and on track. They aren’t “unspent” – people are expecting to get their tax cuts or their unemployment checks – they just haven’t been paid out yet.

    The other one-third is the $265 billion for projects. When people talk about “unspent” Recovery Act funds, this is usually where they focus. But here too, the critics are missing the point. 

  • Recovery Act in Action #8: Jobs in the Heartland

    Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.

    It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles.   The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.