Stimulus program 3-month review offered

May 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- Projects and programs received $88 billion during the first quarter after the $787 billion federal stimulus plan was passed, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said.

In his first quarterly report to President Barack Obama charting progress implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Biden said progress was made in providing immediate financial relief for American families and pumping billions in job-creating projects during the first 77 days, through May 5, of the two-year program.

The report indicated the pace of spending and job creation was expected to accelerate in the coming months with 150,000 jobs already created or saved and more than 3,000 transportation construction projects funded in 52 states and territories.

The report also said:

-- Ninety-five percent of working families have begun seeing the benefits of the Making Work Pay tax credit in their paychecks.

-- COBRA health insurance premiums have been reduced by 65 percent.

-- Unemployment benefits have increased by $25 a week.

-- States have drawn down $15.7 billion in Medical Assistance funds, allowing them to avoid budget cuts.

-- Thirteen states have qualified for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds to improve education programs and save education-related jobs.

Looking ahead, the report said an additional 600,000 jobs were expected to be created or saved during the next 100 days and billions in contracts and grants were expected to be awarded in the coming months.

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