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Congress has worked closely with President Obama to pass a bold and strong economic recovery plan designed to save or create up to 4 million jobs. Funding is beginning to reach our communities so vital projects can move forward, helping put more people back to work. One important example of how stimulus funds have helped us already is the recent decision by the Los Angeles Unified School District to cancel its proposed layoffs of many teachers. Stimulus funds are therefore allowing teachers to keep their jobs, which helps them and their families of course, and also benefits our students and communities.
The stimulus also is directly helping families and individuals by providing important tax cuts and benefits. In fact, the Making Work Pay Tax Credit has already gone into effect and is providing help for 95 percent of American workers and their families. Expanding the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit and providing, a first-time home buyer credit of $8,000 and the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help cover college costs--all part of our economic recovery plan--also provide needed assistance.
In addition, the stimulus provides a one-time payment of $250 to seniors and disabled veterans, which altogether will inject more than $13 billion into the economy.
The Recovery Act strengthens our safety net for those most in need during this economic crisis. We have increased and extended unemployment benefits for jobless workers and are providing a 65 percent federal subsidy to help unemployed workers maintain health insurance coverage. The stimulus package also increased food stamp benefits by about $80 per family per month.
Although many families and communities will continue to face challenges in the months and years ahead, we are starting to see some encouraging signs as the stimulus takes effect.