Congressman Dave Obey: Chief Architect of Plan for America's Recovery

03/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Wisconsin and our entire nation are on the road to recovery thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, whose chief architect is Wisconsin's own Congressman Dave Obey.

The Recovery and Reinvestment package is critical to Wisconsin and every state in the nation. I am grateful to all of the members of our Congressional Delegation who supported it, but especially Congressman Obey.

Congressman Obey led the effort in Washington to shape the plan. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Obey was a great ally. We met in Wausau the day after the election -- as everyone saw what terrible shape the economy was taking. He fully understood the challenges Wisconsin and every other state in the country faced. His tireless work on behalf of the people of Wisconsin helped protect education and health care.

We now have a Recovery and Reinvestment plan that lets states be partners in moving this country forward. It will be up to me and our Legislature to make sure we use the recovery money wisely.

The Recovery and Reinvestment plan very clearly does two things. First, it helps get people to work immediately and lays a foundation for future economic growth. Here in Wisconsin, we were able to increase our funding for transportation by 20 percent in the budget I proposed earlier this week. We will be able to get to work on fixing bridges and roads. We will make sure our cities have clean water. We will connect more of Wisconsin with passenger rail, and we will provide clean, alternative energy to power our state.

We will modernize our medical records to make patient treatment safer and more efficient. We will make our communication networks stronger and fix our schools. Wisconsin will work hard to meet the challenge of this Recovery and Reinvestment Act to maintain jobs and get people to work on projects that add long-term value to the state.

Second, the plan recognizes that during the current economic crisis we cannot let education and access to health care deteriorate. It will help us keep teachers in classrooms. It will help us make sure a sick child gets to a doctor. It means that, as the economy is trying to recover from a deep recession, we will be in a better position to help move our country forward.

Wisconsin and America are going through tough economic times, but we have great hope for the future with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

People across the nation will feel a direct impact from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Here in Wisconsin, it is estimated that we will be able to create or save 70,000 jobs, provide Pell Grants to 91,500 students and tax credits to 2.2 million hardworking families under the new law.

Whether it is through infrastructure projects, grants, tax breaks or extended benefits, college students, K-12 students, hard working Wisconsin families and workers who have lost their jobs will benefit from this package. The Recovery and Reinvestment funds also mean that we can maintain state budget priorities and we do not have to make deeper cuts to education and medical care in the biennial state budget bill.

Wisconsin stands to receive more than $3.7 billion in Recovery and Reinvestment funds, not including direct aid to individuals, tax breaks from the tax relief package or federal competitive grants.

That would not have happened without Congressman Dave Obey's hard work and vision. I am especially proud that he is a Wisconsinite who has shown extraordinary leadership that will help heal our nation and benefit every state for years to come.