WASHINGTON — The massive economic recovery plan Congress is poised to pass will mean 396,000 jobs for California in the next two years in sectors ranging from construction to health care to clean energy, according to a White House statement released Thursday.
As Congress prepared to vote on the $790 billion stimulus bill so President Barack Obama can sign it by Monday, Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers and a former UC Berkeley professor, issued the jobs estimate.
Her report also broke down the jobs impact by congressional district. The San Jose area, represented by Democratic Reps. Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren, would stand to gain 15,700 jobs, according to Romer's calculations.
The stimulus plan also will help the state close its $40 billion budget shortfall, but not as much as some state officials and House members had hoped. Firm numbers were not final Thursday, but congressional staffers said California would receive about $10 billion to reimburse Medicaid spending and $5 billion in a special fund to help the states.
Because some of that total of $15 billion would not be released until later in 2010, about $10 billion would be available for California's budget through mid-2010.
Several Bay Area House members praised the final bill, saying it would jump-start the economy and provide an infusion of federal money in areas traditionally favored by Democrats.
"This is the single biggest increase in funding for health, education, science and infrastructure in our history," Lofgren said. She said much of the $7 billion allocated for science projects would end up in California "because on a competitive basis, our academic institutions always do well."
School construction funds proved to be a contentious issue in reaching a final agreement on the stimulus plan. House Democrats, led by Rep. George Miller of Richmond, fought for a separate $14 billion fund to modernize schools, but Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who provided a crucial vote for passage, objected.
In the end, the special fund for state aid was increased to $54 billion, including money that states and localities could use for school modernization.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, during a visit to Washington on Wednesday, said local schools that were adding solar power to buildings were hoping to tap into some of those school funds.
Miller, chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, said the spending plan "will also give direct, rapid aid to school districts to further prevent staff and program cuts." He also said increasing Pell Grant scholarships and tuition tax credits will help middle-class families with college expenses.
Republicans in Congress continued to criticize the recovery plan, especially its large price tag. No GOP representatives voted for the earlier House bill, and only three Republican senators voted for the Senate bill.
Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican from the Sacramento area, brandished a copy of Newsweek with the cover headline "We Are All Socialists Now" as he blasted the final version of the bill. "We will soon become even more French," Lungren said.
Reach Frank Davies at 202-662-8921.