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A New Foundation

Upon taking office, President Obama’s administration took the immediate steps necessary to confront the economic crisis, restore confidence, and provide stability to our economy.

But just as important have been the first steps we’ve taken toward building a new foundation for prosperity -- steps necessary to ensure that we never go back to the system that led to this crisis in the first place.

With your continued support, we’ll build on this foundation so that our prosperity is fueled not by debt and speculation, but on the productivity of skilled and educated workers; so that America’s leadership is unrivaled in the clean energy technologies that will fuel 21st century innovation; and so that families and businesses are no longer burdened by the crushing costs of health care.

Taken together, each of these steps are a piece of a larger foundation on which America’s future lies.


Just two weeks after his inauguration, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law -- a measure that saves or creates 3.5 million jobs nationwide. The recovery package invests $507 billion in programs that creates jobs, jumpstarts our growth, and transforms our economy. News jobs will be created in industries vital to America’s future, including clean energy, health care, and infrastructure, with over 90% in the private sector.

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President Obama’s economic recovery package includes $282 billion in tax relief, ensuring that 95 percent of workers and their families will receive a tax cut.

The package includes expanded tax credits for college tuition, extends the child tax credit to more families, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families with three or more children, makes sales taxes paid on new cars tax deductible, and increases the first-time home buyer tax credit to $8,000.

The recovery package also spares millions of middle income Americans from paying the alternative minimum tax.

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One of President Obama’s first acts upon taking office was to extend health coverage to 4 million uninsured children by enacting legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $87 billion so that no state has to cut eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP because of budget shortfalls, protecting roughly 20 million people at risk of losing eligibility.

The recovery package also makes significant investments in health care modernization, community health centers, and health care research. Upon taking office, President Obama created a White House Office of Health Care Reform, tasked with the goal of expanding health care coverage to all Americans.

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In February, President Obama announced a foreclosure prevention package that helps up to 9 million homeowners obtain better mortgage terms. It allows up to 5 million homeowners to refinance into cheaper mortgages and invested $75 billion to keep up to 4 million homeowners out of foreclosure.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invests $10 billion to expand the availability of quality affordable housing and to reduce the effects of foreclosures in communities. Since announcing President Obama’s housing plan, rates on 30-year mortgages have dropped to an all-time low of 4.78 percent and refinancing applications are up 88 percent.

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President Obama’s recovery package prevents devastating cuts to education by providing $53.6 billion to states and school districts to prevent layoffs and cuts in critical services. It also invests $25 billion in support for educating at risk students and those with special needs.

It invests $1.1 billion for Early Head Start and $1 billion for Head Start, providing services for approximately 120,000 additional infants and children over two years. The package also increases the maximum award for Pell Grants and increases college affordability for more than 7 million students by addressing the grant’s shortfall.

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The President’s economic recovery package doubles the amount of renewable energy produced in the next three years through financial support for alternative energy companies, renewable energy tax credits, and $2.5 billion for research and development of alternative energy sources.

The package also includes $11 billion to upgrade to a bigger and smarter electric grid and $2.4 billion in funding to support next generation electric vehicles. In March, the administration announced an investment of $3.2 billion in local energy efficiency and conservation projects throughout America’s cities, counties, and states.

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Upon taking office, President Obama signed the first piece of legislation of his presidency, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The bill gives working women across the country a powerful tool to fight unequal pay by extending the statute of limitations on suits against companies accused of pay and other workplace discrimination. The bill saves countless women and their families from unfair losses in salary, income, and retirement.

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In February, President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise by setting a date for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. The President set the deadline for withdrawal of combat forces at August 2010, allowing military commanders to execute a successful withdrawal and encouraging a swift yet responsible transition of authority to the Iraqi people.

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On April 21st, President Obama signed the Serve America Act, the largest expansion of national service since the creation of the Peace Corps. The Serve America Act triples the size of AmeriCorps over the next eight years, and focuses on our country's biggest challenges, including clean energy, health care, and education.

It opens up new service opportunities for millions of people across the country and allows everyone to deliver on President Obama's call to service. It strengthens nonprofit organizations and gives all Americans the resources to take a direct role in strengthening their communities and rebuilding America.

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Cathedral City, CA

I was laid off in mid-January from a job I had for 12 years. It's really getting hard to make ends meet, but this month I got some great news. This week I received in the mail official notification that my COBRA monthly payments for medical, dental and vision insurance will decrease from $468 to only $163, all due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is a $305 in savings a month!

I can't tell you how much of a weight off my shoulders this is. I am living proof of how the President's bold initiatives are beginning to work!

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Upper Marlboro, MD

I've seen the Recovery Act work around me -- simple things, but they have affected peoples lives.

A co-worker came to me to complain about how our health insurance plan is going up in May -- for a single person, about $25.00 more per paycheck. I reminded her that that starting on April 1st she would be getting just about that amount based on the tax cut from the ARRA. She was thrilled and her problem was solved.

Then just this morning another co-worker came to me to tell me that his niece lost her job in January and was worried about being able to afford COBRA. [But because of] the Recovery Act, she will now be able to afford to keep her insurance until she is eligible for health coverage through her new job.

Thank you President Obama -- we are living the results.

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Columbia, MD

I'm a free-lance court reporter residing in Maryland. My husband works at Toyota Financial. I’m basically an independent contractor, and like so many small businesses, I've been affected by the economic downturn -- my phone doesn't ring nearly as often as before. I am keeping my head above water, albeit barely.

The immediate tax cuts showed up in my husband’s bi-weekly paycheck, an extra $35. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but that’s an extra $70 per month. With that, my husband and I can take a vacation to Pennsylvania for the weekend, something we haven’t been able to do in two years.

I know health care is going to be a real dog fight, what with the lobbyists already lining up in attack mode, but there are many, many, many of us out here who are ready, willing, and able to help fight for health care reform. I'm very pleased with the President’s initial steps (SCHIP, etc.) but we all know there is much more to be done.

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Chester, VA

In Chesterfield County, the American Recovery and Reinvestment act saved over 400 educational jobs that were slated to be eliminated. I no longer have children of school age, but I have relatives employed in the local school system, and I want all children to have a great education like my children did.

I'm a 58 year old widow of a career Army officer with a son who's a career soldier (15 years in) currently serving his second tour in Iraq. I also volunteer in McGuire Veteran's Hospital and Nursing Home in Richmond, and I've seen the ravages of these wars first-hand. Coming from a military family, I have a real affinity for the military and it's families, and that makes the President's decision to close Guantanamo and set a clear timeline for withdrawal from Iraq critical to me. Share your story


Prescott, AZ

Never in my lifetime, or even my parents' lifetime, can I remember any U.S. President taking the bold steps that we all know in our hearts must be taken.

Money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will go towards developing and building alternative energy solutions, and in my view this is the single biggest factor in this whole equation. A new alternative energy economy will not only create jobs and improve our economy, but it will do wonders for our nation's security while reducing greenhouse gases.

Thank you President Obama, for having the confidence in America to do what you are doing.

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New Port Richey, FL

My husband is disabled and I am retired. We live on a fixed income, but we have learned how to live on little, and to live within our means. The stimulus package helps so many in so many ways ... My son lost his job in March and his wife is battling cancer -- now we know they can get their health care via COBRA at a reduced cost, and they can probably refinance their mortgage as well.

Even my Governor Charlie Crist gives credit to this stimulus package for him not having to lay off more people.

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Crystal Beach, FL

Last year I was out of work for 10 horrible months. My husband and I had a little savings but before long we had to use it to put food on out table and pay the bills. In order to find work we had to relocate and moved in with one of our children.

Once we settled in, I was able to find work in a call center. By my second paycheck, the middle class tax cut meant that I saw a $22 a week increase in every check. To some this may not seem like a lot, but for my husband and I it's a fortune. It means that I'm able to put at least $10 a week in the savings account that I had to deplete last year. Saving $10 a week may not seem like a lot to some people, but it does add up. Our savings account balance was at $1.01 for 10 months and now it's up to $50. Not a lot, but just like the campaign, $1, $5 and $10 at a time will create change.

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Wilmington, NC

My son has struggled with a rare terminal genetic disease called "Wolfram Syndrome" since he was a child. As Wolfram Syndrome Families we are celebrating because of President Obama support and commitment to patients and research. We just got the approval for a clinical grant that has been in a holding pattern for a few years. Wolfram Syndrome is a rare disease with very little financial support. Removing the restrictions on stem cell research as well as sponsorship of research gives us hope.

I want everyone to have access to the care they need so they can be empowered to care for themselves in the best possible way.

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Aurora, CO

I’m a single mother of three, and I found that I needed all these policies after I lost my job. But thanks to the stimulus, I’ve been helped in a number of different ways, and so far my bills are affordable.

The corporate subsidy to employers for COBRA payments has meant that I only have to pay for 35% of coverage, so it’s going to be relatively affordable to keep health insurance through that program. And if I can’t afford to stay on, my kids would now be eligible to go on the SCHIP program.

I’m going to have two kids in college in the fall, and I’m going to be collecting a tax credit as a result. Because of the stimulus, the tax credit was increased, and the income limit was dropped considerably so that I’m now eligible. I’ve also been helped by the unemployment benefits extension. Payments were increased by an extra $100 a month because of the stimulus bill, and I’ll be eligible for payments for longer.

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Click a button on the left to learn how each issue has formed a foundation to build on lasting change in the coming months and years. Click on a photo to learn how this new direction is touching the lives of real people throughout the country.
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