Markey-pushed Provisions on Health, Energy, and Broadband Will be Boon for Bay State

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Malden) hailed the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as a multi-billion dollar boon for the Bay State. Rep. Markey has championed several health, energy and technology initiatives that are included in the legislation. These provisions will help Massachusetts continue a tradition of innovation, and will create tens of thousands of new jobs in the state. All told, the economic recovery plan will provide more than $6 billion for Massachusetts and could save or create nearly 100,000 jobs by the end of this decade.

“Massachusetts has been a leading force in our economy since the Industrial Revolution,” said Rep. Markey. “Our tradition of innovation will continue as we repair and renew our economy with smart, targeted investments in health, energy and technology initiatives. It will put people to work now and build the industries that will engineer long-term economic growth.”

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will start rebuilding our economy immediately by creating or saving millions of jobs. From advanced, plug-in hybrid batteries that will propel our vehicles and automotive industry into the future, to weatherization programs that will save consumers thousands of dollars on energy bills while creating thousands of new jobs, this legislation will modernize our cars, our homes and our workforce.”

Rep. Markey, a senior Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which crafted key provisions of the Recovery Act, pushed for several initiatives that are included in the economic recovery package, including:

--Energy grants for state energy programs totaling $61 million for Massachusetts.
--Grants and loans totaling $2 billion for advanced hybrid battery and clean car technology that will support Bay State businesses like A123 Battery Systems in Watertown.
--Increased investments in building weatherization projects totaling more than $150 million for Massachusetts which could result in 8,000 new jobs in the state.
--Investments in Smart Grid updates to our electrical sector, which will combine Massachusetts’ leadership on information technology and energy.
--Funding for a new, interoperable infrastructure for storing and sharing electronic medical records, including patient privacy safeguards to ensure patients’ medical records are made unreadable to unauthorized users.
 --Investments in broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas, including requirements that networks funded in whole or in part by taxpayers operate on an open access or wireless open access basis so that public utilization of taxpayer-funded assets is maximized for economic development and job creation.

Rep. Markey spoke on the House floor in support of the bill. The full text of his statement is below:

“Today, as we consider a recovery package that invests nearly $70 billion in clean energy solutions, change has truly arrived in Washington.

Our country is facing enormous challenges, but we also have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create millions of new jobs, invest in vital priorities and position our economy for future growth.

This urgently-needed stimulus bill funds infrastructure projects that are “shovel-ready”, while also supporting the future-oriented projects that are “circuit-ready”:  broadband, electronic medical records, smart grid, advanced battery technologies and other vital priorities.  

This package is a major down payment on the clean, renewable energy future this country has been waiting for and desperately needs. I commend Chairmen Obey, Chairman Rangel, Chairman Waxman, and the leadership of President Obama for developing this comprehensive package.   

With the support included in this package, wind capacity will grow from 25,000 megawatts today to 44,000 megawatts in 2012. At 220 tons of steel per wind turbine, that’s nearly 3 million tons of new steel demand. Those steel jobs are blue-collar jobs tinted green through the force of the clean energy revolution.

The massive investments in weatherization, state energy efficiency grants, and federal building efficiency are some of the safest and smartest investments our country can make right now. They put money into the pockets of American workers and pay for themselves in the form of energy savings and lower energy prices. This energy efficiency “double dividend” is a proven, reliable phenomenon that our current weak economy must exploit.  

This bill provides $20 billion for a new health IT infrastructure to improve care, lower costs and reduce medical errors.  I am pleased that the bill includes patient privacy safeguards that I have long advocated, including a provision that I offered at the Energy and Commerce Committee markup to ensure that patients’ medical records are made unreadable to unauthorized users when the information is transmitted in the nationwide health IT infrastructure or transported on mobile devices like laptops.  Privacy safeguards in the new health IT infrastructure are not a luxury. They are absolutely essential.  I commend Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Barton for their support of this important patient privacy protection.

Today we have before us a balanced, well-thought out package that provides tax relief for 95% of Americans and targets investments in key areas to turn around the American economy. I strongly support these measures and urge my colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”


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January 28, 2009

CONTACT: Daniel Reilly (202) 225-2836