Green Stimulus On the Way

New York City -- A little over six months ago, I proposed to the economic team within the Obama campaign and, subsequently, to the world at large, a green stimulus bill that would stimulate the economy in the short term, but also work for the long term to include tax credits and money for renewable energy, weatherization, mass transit, retrofitting buildings and building workforce housing. All of these proposals and more passed an important milestone yesterday on their way into becoming law with the House passage of what has become an $820 billion bill solidly weighted toward green investments. We are very happy to see the President and Congress working to create the foundation for a low-carbon future, independence from foreign oil and the next great wave of economic growth. The action now moves to the Senate where we expect these proposals will be incorporated into similar legislation.

At the same time, however, the nature of the stimulus bill process, in particular, the need to move the money out quickly through previously authorized law, means that this bill represents, as the President has said, only a downpayment on needed investments. It does not, nor could it, given the short time frame, create all the new investments that will be needed to bring the American economy fully into the 21st century.  More work is needed to reform our funding process, for example, and update regulation to make the long-term investments in clean infrastructure needed to update our infrastructure for a more productive 21st century.

Nonetheless, the action by the House represents an important milestone.  We are hopeful the Senate will move rapidly in due course to pass similar legislation that meets the President's goal of signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law in the next few weeks.