House Dems offer $825B stimulus bill

After weeks of talks with President-elect Barack Obama’s top aides, House Democrats on Thursday released an expansive economic recovery plan that calls for $550 billion in spending and aid to states and $275 billion in tax cuts. [via CNNMoney]

Congressional stimulus package includes billions in extra research funding.

Democratic leadership in the US House of Representatives unveiled on Thursday an $825 billion economic stimulus bill that includes tens of billions of dollars in new funding for basic research, science infrastructure and clean-energy initiatives.

Organizations representing the research community applauded the proposal, citing massive infusions of cash for both physical and biological sciences throughout the federal science agencies. But some questioned whether the one-time infusion would matter much to agencies whose budgets have flatlined or been lower than expected in recent years.

As part of a massive collection of tax cuts and spending initiatives, the 258-page blueprint released by House appropriators would pump $3 billion into the National Science Foundation (NSF), $2 billion into the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $1.9 billion into the Department of Energy and $1.5 billion into university research facilities. Much of that money would be directed toward science infrastructure like renovating buildings or laboratories, but the NSF and NIH would receive $2 billion and $1.5 billion respectively that could be used to pay for thousands of basic research grants that have already been approved but for which there was previously not enough money. [via Nature]
I’m quite keen on this new commemorative inaugural print by Shepard Fairey. This would look great as a shirt. [via ObeyGiant]

This weekend, America’s capital city will welcome thousands of government officials and dignitaries from the U.S. and around the world. Over 10,000 buses will carry 500,000 riders into Washington, D.C., doubling the city’s population. On Inauguration Day, the Metro is expected to have a 17-hour rush hour. District bars will be open 24-hours a day for five straight days. To manage an event of this scale, the District of Columbia will spend a mammoth $47 million. It is not enough.

Obama’s Inauguration is expected to be the largest inaugural event in American history–and the most challenging to orchestrate. A committee of local elected officials estimates that ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the festivities will cost over $75 million. [via Forbes]

Yikes, the logistics are nightmarish (it’s like hosting a gargantuan statewide rock concert). It’s going to be a crazy four days until 1.20.09! I will most likely be living vicariously through friends who snatched up tickets to the inauguration.