Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breaking News: House Cuts $302 Million in Broadband Stimulus Funds

Obama Rapidly Signs Bill Into Law
08/10/2010 Updated at 10:30 PM (EDT) San Francisco - The U.S. House has voted to cut $302 million in stimulus funds managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  President Obama signed the $26 billion state funding package which contained the cut into law late this afternoon.

The cut is part of the $26 billion emergency aid bill for states which was just voted through in the House chamber on Capitol Hill, passing by a 247 - 161 vote.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called her legislative body back into session last week, truncating the vacation period of Members, specifically to pass the funding bill.

President Obama signs H.R. 1586 into law. first reported passage of the funding measure in the House in a breaking news alert of 3:32 P.M. (EDT) today, followed with a full story by senior congressional reporter David Rogers 9 minutes later.  The online news service reports that Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House immediately following the vote on the bill, H.R. 1586 as amended by Senate action of last week. 

We had predicted last week, given the heavyweight sponsorship in the Senate of the consensus amendment that enabled final passage and the widespread distrust of the efficacy of the NTIA side of the broadband stimulus program, the $302 million cut was a good bet. 

Wasting no time to move federal funds to the states, at 5:15 PM (EDT) President Obama signed the legislation.  According to a brief written statement from the White House press office, the President signed the legislation "H.R. 1586, which appropriates funds for education jobs; extends and modifies certain increased Federal medical assistance for States; accelerates the sunset of certain temporary increases in food assistance benefits; limits the use of foreign tax credits by U.S. corporations with foreign operations; and rescinds appropriated funds for several Federal programs."  

The statement was accompanied by a longer blog posting by Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes which focuses on the bill's role in avoiding teacher layoffs across the nation.
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