Stimulus plan: $32B for smart grid, $6B for broadband

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have revealed their plan to revive the American economy using around $550 billion in new spending and $275 billion in tax cuts. In its current form, the plan includes substantial tech spending, including $32 billion to transform the nation’s energy system, “allowing for a smarter and better grid and focusing investment in renewable technology,” as well as $6 billion to bring broadband and wireless service — but of course the bill will almost certainly see substantial changes before it’s approved.

The plan won’t provide economic salvation, said Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), head of the House Appropriations Committee. Instead, it’s “the largest effort by any legislative body on the planet to try to take government action to prevent economic catastrophe, and even that may not be enough.”

Unsurprisingly, conservatives were quick to criticize the plan; Thomas Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research told Reuters, “If they were good investments people would be making them anyway.” (Because, of course, this is a great time to wave the flag for the virtues of unregulated investment.)

The House is expected to vote on the plan during the week of Jan. 26 while the the Senate is developing its own version. I’ve embedded a summary of the House plan below (via the House Appropriations web site) but here are some business- and tech-relevant highlights:

  • $11 billion for smart grid research and development
  • $8 billion in loans for renewable energy power generation and transmission
  • $6.9 billion to help state and local governments become more energy efficient
  • $6 billion for broadband and wireless services in underserved areas
  • $430 million for small business loans
  • $650 million to continue a coupon program to convert American televisions from analog to digital transmission
  • $1 billion in grants for new commuter rail or light rail projects
  • $20 billion to computerize health records
  • $4 billion for job training

House Stimulu Plan - Free Legal Forms
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