On November 15, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced during his weekly radio address that the nation was facing '...the greatest economic challenge of our time' and that he would work with Congress to design a two-year economic recovery plan with the goal of creating 2 million jobs '...rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools.' As negotiations progressed, national unemployment figures jumped to a fifteen-year high of 6.7%, and the stock market plunged, with the Dow Jones Industrial Stock Index falling below 7,400 on November 21, 2008. In light of the poor economic news, President-elect Obama increased his economic recovery plan's job creation goal, first to 2.5 million jobs over two years and later to 3 million jobs. According to media reports, President-elect Obama presented congressional Democrats a proposal in mid-December to dedicate $675 billion to $775 billion over the next two years to middle-class tax cuts, aid to state governments and investments in infrastructure, health-care technology, and education. This report examines the arguments presented by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Governors Association (NGA) to include state fiscal assistance in an economic recovery plan, several arguments to exclude state assistance from such a plan, and the implications the proposals presented by NCSL and NGA might have for the economy. It also examines issues related to the targeting of state fiscal assistance and arguments for and against including infrastructure construction projects in an economic recovery plan."
CRS Report for Congress, R40112
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/