"The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has declared the U.S. economy to be in recession since December of 2007. With the worsening performance of the economy, congressional leaders and President Obama proposed much larger stimulus packages. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), an $820 billion package with $275 billion in tax cuts (offset by a $7 billion gain from the treatment of built in losses) and the remainder in spending, was passed by the House on January 28 (H.R. 1). It contained infrastructure spending, revenue sharing with the states, middle class tax cuts, business tax cuts, unemployment benefits, and food stamps. Similar legislation was passed in the Senate on February 10 (an amendment in the nature of a substitute for H.R. 1) and would cost $838 billion, with $292 billion in tax cuts. The version of the bill signed into law on February 17, 2009 (P.L. 111-5), was a $787 billion package with $286 billion in tax cuts and the remainder in spending. Numerous actions have already been taken to contain damages spilling over from housing and financial markets to the broader economy. These policies include traditional monetary and fiscal policy, as well as federal interventions into the financial sector. In February 2008, in response to weaker economic growth, an economic stimulus package of approximately $150 billion was adopted. A provision that was considered (but not enacted) in the February stimulus bill was a 26-week extension of unemployment benefits; this extension was eventually enacted. […] This report first discusses the current state of the economy, including measures that have already been taken by the monetary authorities. The next section reviews the economic stimulus package. The following section assesses the need for, magnitude of, design of, and potential consequences of fiscal stimulus. The final section of the report discusses recent and proposed financial interventions."
CRS Report for Congress, R40104
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