FACT SHEET: How the Recovery Act Helped Save Us from a Second Great Depression and Made Critical Investments in our Long-Term Competitiveness
Seven Years After Signing the Recovery Act, President Obama to Highlight Its Transformative Impact on Our Economy
Facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the President and Vice President responded aggressively, overcoming near-unanimous opposition from Republicans to successfully shepherd the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) through Congress and implement it with speed, transparency, and accountability. Seven years ago—on February 17, 2009—and less than a month after taking office, the President signed this historic growth and job creation package into law. The Recovery Act provided more than $760 billion in fiscal support for the economy—part of a fiscal response to the crisis that totaled more than $1.4 trillion under the Obama Administration—through tax cuts for families and businesses; major investments in education, innovation, clean energy, transportation infrastructure, and broadband Internet; support for states to provide Medicaid benefits and keep teachers and first responders on the job; and direct support for the hardest-hit families. The package balanced policies that provided Americans with immediate relief, along with investments that fueled longer-term economic competitiveness, while creating jobs across the country.
Seven years later, the evidence is clear and overwhelming: the Recovery Act worked. By many measures, the President inherited economic conditions that were collapsing faster than at the onset of the Great Depression. Yet, along with the President’s efforts to stabilize the financial system, the housing market, and the auto industry, the Recovery Act helped to jumpstart growth with remarkable speed. At the end of 2008, growth was declining at an annual rate of more than 8 percent and we were losing 800,000 jobs per month. But just five months after the Recovery Act passed, the economy was growing. A year after the Recovery Act passed, the longest streak of private sector job creation on record had begun, and 14 million jobs have been created since. Analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers suggests that at its peak, the Recovery Act increased employment by nearly 2.5 million, added more than 6 million total job-years during the recovery (where a job-year is defined as one full-time job for one year), and prevented millions of Americans from falling into poverty—more than 5 million in 2010 alone. Learn more about the economic impact of the Recovery Act here.
In addition to providing immediate relief and putting Americans to work in a moment of economic crisis, investments through the Recovery Act continue to shape transportation, clean energy, education, broadband, tax, health care, innovation, and anti-poverty policies today. Recovery Act investments and tax policies:
- Rebuilt and Modernized Transportation Infrastructure: The Recovery Act made a down payment of over $48 billion for rebuilding and modernizing our nation’s transportation infrastructure, including our roads, bridges, and airports; major investments in public transit; and the creation of the TIGER grant program, which remains in place today, with nearly $4.6 billion awarded over the course of seven rounds of investment that continues to encourage innovative, regional approaches to transportation investment awarded, with an eighth round to be made available soon.
- Jumpstarted a Clean Energy Revolution that has Transformed How We Use Energy and Cut Carbon Pollution: The Recovery Act devoted more than $90 billion in investments and tax incentives toward developing the clean energy economy we need for the 21st Century—in renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric grid modernization, advanced vehicles and fuels technology, carbon sequestration, and the next-generation innovative breakthroughs that will power a clean energy renaissance through ARPA-E. These and subsequent clean energy policies have helped fuel a three-fold growth in electricity generated from wind and a thirty-fold increase in solar electricity generation since 2008, while increasing energy efficiency and lowering the cost of technologies that reduce carbon pollution.
- Launched Education Reforms Across the Country and Made College More Affordable: Alongside tens of billions of dollars to keep teachers on the job and help schools weather the crisis, the Recovery Act created the Race to the Top initiative, which launched a “marked surge” of school reform across the nation, according to a University of Chicago analysis. Reforms included higher academic expectations, stronger teachers, and a focus on low-performing schools and the use of data. The Recovery Act also increased the maximum Pell Grant from $4,731 to $5,350 to help more students afford college. And it created the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which provides up to $2,500 per year—or up to $10,000 over four years—in tax relief to college students and their families. The AOTC was made permanent by the December 2015 bipartisan tax and budget agreement, and building on the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration has expanded funding for Pell Grants by a total of 60 percent, reducing the cost of college by an average of $3,700 for 8 million students last year.
- Expanded Access to High-Speed Broadband: $7 billion in Recovery Act investments in high-speed broadband built or improved more than 115,000 miles of broadband infrastructure and made high-speed connections available to about 26,000 community institutions. Along with tax incentives and loans, as well as subsequent policies, these investments have helped expand access to broadband to more than 98 percent of Americans.
- Cut Taxes for More Than 100 Million Americans: The Recovery Act’s Making Work Pay credit cut taxes in 2009 and 2010 by up to $800 for 95 percent of working families—over 100 million American taxpayers. And it set the stage for over $200 billion in subsequent payroll tax cuts for about 160 million working Americans, providing a tax cut of $1,000 per year for the typical American family in 2011 and 2012, for a total of $3,600 in tax cuts for the typical family over four years.
- Expanded Tax Cuts to Fight Poverty: The Recovery Act expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) by increasing the maximum EITC for families with more than two children, reducing the EITC’s “marriage penalty,” and allowing more low-income families to access the CTC. The December 2015 bipartisan tax and budget agreement made these important expansions permanent, and they now provide an average tax cut of about $900 for roughly 16 million working families a year and reduce the extent or severity of poverty for more than 16 million people—including about 8 million children—each year.
- Made Critical Investments in Other Parts of Our Economy: Among other investments, the Recovery Act also financed a game-changing boost to health information technology, brownfield clean-ups, emissions reduction technology, mitigation of the impact of foreclosures on communities, energy efficiency in public and assisted housing, and scientific research.
Surface Transportation: Investments to Transform and Modernize Our Surface Transportation System
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act)—signed into law seven years ago on February 17, 2009—made over $48 billion in job-creating investments in transportation infrastructure, a significant down payment toward revitalizing our transportation system. These investments put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work in communities across the country at a time when our economy was on the brink of a Great Depression and unemployment in occupations associated with infrastructure—such as construction and manufacturing—was skyrocketing.
The Recovery Act also launched new models for transportation investment, including the competitive TIGER grant program that continues to invest in innovative, collaborative projects today. These critical investments have spurred growth and job creation in cities, towns, and rural areas across America as they recovered from the financial crisis, while laying a foundation for stronger communities that are better connected and an American economy that is more competitive for the future. Specifically, the Recovery Act invested in:
- Improving the Nation’s Roads and Bridges: The Recovery Act initiated more than 13,000 projects through the Federal Highway Administration, improving more than 42,000 miles of road and more than 2,700 bridges. This helped keep construction companies in business and provided jobs to thousands of workers.
- Innovative and Competitive TIGER Grants: The Recovery Act created the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, a competitive grant program that encourages innovation and regional collaboration. Since 2009, and over the course of seven rounds of investment, TIGER has provided nearly $4.6 billion to 381 projects, including 134 projects to support rural and tribal communities. An eighth round of funding will soon be made available, to award the $500 million in funding for TIGER provided in Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations.
- High-Speed Rail: The Recovery Act invested $8 billion in high-speed rail, the largest American investment of its kind. Combined with subsequent appropriations for the program, investments are supporting nearly 150 projects in 35 states. Through these investments, thousands of corridor miles of track are being constructed or improved, more than 30 stations are being upgraded, and new passenger cars and locomotives are being procured.
- Transit Systems: The Recovery Act invested nearly $8.8 billion in transit systems across the country, supporting 1,072 projects. These investments helped save transit and service jobs, while enhancing service and reliability. Specifically, Recovery Act funding helped to purchase more than 11,500 buses and 665 rail cars and helped construct or rehabilitate more than 850 transit facilities nationwide.
- Runways, Airports, and Air Traffic Control Upgrades: The Recovery Act included about $1.3 billion administered by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), supporting nearly 800 projects across the country. These projects protected and created jobs through investments including grants to airports, investments in power systems, air traffic control infrastructure, and navigation and landing equipment.
- Build America Bonds (BABs): The Recovery Act created Build America Bonds (BABs), which are taxable bonds for which the Treasury Department paid a 35 percent direct subsidy to the issuer to offset borrowing costs, encouraging tax-exempt entities like pensions funds to finance infrastructure. State and local governments issued $181 billion of BABs before the program expired at the end of 2010. The Treasury Department has estimated that this action saved issuers $20 billion in present value of borrowing costs, while alleviating supply pressures in the tax-exempt market.
These job-creating investments have improved mobility and modernized transportation systems; provided a boost to the country’s growth, productivity and competitiveness; and expanded access to opportunity in local communities. Recently, the President also signed into law the bipartisan Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the first long-term surface transportation bill in a decade after 36 straight short-term patches. The five-year FAST Act increased funding levels and represented forward progress, but the President has continued to lead on surface transportation infrastructure by calling for a bold new plan for a 21st Century Clean Transportation System that meets the real needs of our economy while reducing carbon pollution. The President’s plan would increase American investments in clean surface transportation infrastructure by roughly 50 percent while reforming the investments we already make to help curb climate change, cut oil consumption, and create new jobs.
Education: Support to Keep Teachers on the Job, Make College More Affordable, and Transform our Education System
Roughly $100 billion was allocated to education in the Recovery Act to expand support for students attending college, catalyze education reform across the country, keep teachers on the job, and protect students from drastic cuts to education funding at the state and local level. The Recovery Act:
- Catalyzed Education Reform: The Recovery Act launched the $4 billion innovative Race to the Top Program, which rewarded States that implemented critical reforms, including: establishing high standards for all kids; developing and supporting effective teachers; creating data systems and using technology to enhance teaching and learning; turning around our lowest-performing schools; and building comprehensive strategies to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching and learning. An independent analysis from the University of Chicago found that “Race to the Top had a meaningful impact on the production of education policy across the United States. In its aftermath, all states experienced a marked surge in the adoption of education policies.” Today, Race to the Top recipients like Tennessee and the District of Columbia are showing the nation how it is possible to dramatically strengthen our schools.
- Made College More Affordable: The Recovery Act expanded the maximum Pell Grant from $4,731 to $5,350, helping to increase the average grant for 8 million low- and moderate-income students attending college in Academic Year 2009-2010. It also created the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), an up to $2,500 per year credit—up to $10,000 over four years—for students and families paying for college, benefiting more than 8 million students in 2009. Building on the Recovery Act, the Administration has expanded Pell Grants by a total of 60 percent, with Pell Grants providing an average of $3,700 for 8 million students last year. And after several extensions the bipartisan tax and budget agreement the President signed into law in December 2015 made the AOTC permanent.
- Protected Students from Drastic Cuts to Education Funding at the State and Local Level and Kept Teachers on the Job: The Recovery Act provided more than $50 billion in education support for states, and many districts used those funds to keep teachers on the job. A subsequent bill in 2010 provided an additional $10 billion in support for similar purposes.
Clean Energy: Investments and Tax Incentives that Launched a Clean Energy Boom
Clean energy was the focus of more than $90 billion in government investment and tax incentives in the Recovery Act. The purpose of these investments was to help create new jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil, enhance national security, and improve the environment by countering climate change. Many of these clean energy programs were administered though the $38 billion Recovery Act portfolio of the Department of Energy. Fueled by these and subsequent clean energy incentives and investments by the Administration, generation of electricity from wind has grown three-fold since 2008. And we now produce 30 times as much electricity from solar as we did in 2008.
These investments transformed America’s clean energy economy by:
- Accelerating Clean Energy Manufacturing: The Recovery Act authorized a 30 percent tax credit, 48(c), for investments in advanced energy manufacturing projects that provided $2.3 billion for renewable energy generation, energy storage, advanced transmission, energy conservation, renewable fuel refining or blending, plug-in vehicles, and carbon capture and storage.
- Scaling Up Renewable Energy Generation: The Recovery Act made investments in renewable generation that are leading to the installation of wind turbines, solar panels, and other renewable energy sources. For example, The Recovery Act added $4 billion to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program for a variety of projects, including renewable energy and advanced biofuel. Additionally, the Recovery Act extended an existing 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (in 2008 dollars) production tax credit for wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric generation and a 1 cent per kilowatt-hour production tax credit for biomass and landfill gas. Recovery Act authority helped deploy clean energy nationwide, through roughly $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments supporting more than $50 billion in total investment in more than 30 projects.
- Improving Energy Efficiency: The Recovery Act promoted energy efficiency through investments that reduce energy consumption, including $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) which financed energy efficiency retrofits in low-income homes. In addition to WAP, efficiency efforts from the Recovery Act supported the installation of 200,000 energy efficient streetlights and 280,000 energy-efficient traffic signals across the country.
- Promoting Grid Modernization: The Recovery Act helped to finance the construction of new transmission lines that can support electricity generated by renewable energy, providing about $10.5 billion to support projects to modernize the electric grid, enhance the efficiency of the U.S. energy infrastructure, and ensure reliable electricity delivery, largely through smart grid projects and interconnection transmission planning.
- Supporting Advanced Vehicles and Fuels Technologies: The Recovery Act funded research on and deployment of the next generation of automobile batteries, advanced biofuels, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric vehicles, as well as the necessary support infrastructure. Over $6 billion in Recovery Act funding was awarded to improve engine efficiency, advance alternate fuel development, and promote electric vehicle technologies.
- Investing in Carbon Capture and Sequestration: The Recovery Act provided $3.4 billion to support initiatives that range from characterizing the carbon sequestration potential of geologic formations, to cost-sharing agreements to demonstrate advanced carbon capture and storage technologies for coal.
- Driving Innovation and Job Training: The Recovery Act invested $400 million in the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) program, which funds new, creative research ideas aimed at accelerating the pace of innovation in advanced energy technologies. The Recovery Act also included $500 million to support programs that train workers for jobs in the energy efficiency and clean energy industries of the future.
Tax Cuts and Additional Support for Middle-Class and Working Families
The Recovery Act included a total of more than $180 billion in tax cuts to help middle-class and working families make ends meet, pay for college, and make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. It also included additional support for the hardest hit families, through, among other items, expanded unemployment insurance benefits, expanded SNAP benefits (formerly “food stamps”), and extended and expanded COBRA to help families of the unemployed maintain health coverage as they searched for a new job. This tax relief and additional support also provided an economic boost, as hard-hit families spent that much-needed relief at a time when consumer spending in the economy was at risk of completely collapsing, taking us into a depression.
Key Recovery Act tax policies for individual and families include:
- The Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which cut taxes for 95 percent of working families—over 100 million American taxpayers. Taxpayers received up to $800 through the credit. Making Work Pay set the stage for the subsequent payroll tax cut the President fought for and secured in the December 2010 tax agreement that was later extended through 2012, providing about 160 million American workers with two more years of tax cuts of about $1,000 per year for the typical middle-class family. In total, these two policies cut taxes by $3,600 for the typical middle-class household from 2009 to 2012.
- Creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which provides a maximum credit of $2,500 per year—or up to $10,000 over four years. For tax year 2009, the AOTC provided more than $14 billion in tax cuts to more than 8 million students and families paying for college. The creation of the AOTC contributed to a nearly $10 billion increase in the value of education tax credits (including the Lifetime Learning Credit) from the prior year. The bipartisan tax and budget agreement signed into law in December 2015 made the AOTC permanent, ensuring more families will continue to benefit from expanded education tax credits. The AOTC will cut taxes by over $1,000 on average for nearly 10 million families in 2016.
- Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which encourage work and help low- and moderate-income working families make ends meet. The Recovery Act increased the EITC for families with more than two children, a group with disproportionately high poverty rates, and reduced the EITC’s “marriage penalty,” making married couples eligible for the EITC at somewhat higher income levels. The CTC expansion allowed more low-income families to access the CTC by reducing the minimum amount of income needed to claim the credit for taxpayers without income tax liability. These important expansions were made permanent by the December 2015 bipartisan tax and budget agreement. Together, they now provide an average tax cut of about $900 for roughly 16 million working families a year and reduce the extent or severity of poverty for more than 16 million people—including about 8 million children—each year.
- Expanding COBRA and Making Unemployment Benefits More Generous: For those who lost their jobs in the recession, to help them get back on their feet, the Recovery Act provided a 65 percent tax credit to help cover the cost of health care and made the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits tax-free, when normally 100 percent of those benefits are taxable.
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives: The Recovery Act made taxpayers eligible for up to $1,500 in tax credits for making some energy-efficiency improvements to their homes such as adding insulation and installing energy efficient windows.
Including both the Recovery Act and subsequent fiscal measures like the payroll tax cut, almost half of the total of more than $1.4 trillion in fiscal support the President secured for the economy from 2009 to 2012—or $689 billion—came in the form of tax cuts, with the vast majority of that tax relief directed at families.
Benefits for the Hardest-Hit Americans and State Fiscal Support
In addition to that tax relief, the Recovery Act provided aid to states and direct aid to the hardest-hit families, including:
- Expanded Unemployment Insurance Benefits: The Recovery Act provided $43 billion for unemployment benefits, which was followed by another $161 billion provided in a number of subsequent extensions. In total, nearly 24 million workers received extended unemployment insurance benefits. Counting workers’ families, almost 70 million people were supported by extended UI benefits, including nearly 17 million children. The impact was profound: the Census Bureau estimates that from 2008 to 2012, aided by the Recovery Act expansions and subsequent extensions, unemployment insurance kept over 11 million people out of poverty.
- Increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamp) Payments and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) emergency fund: The Recovery Act provided a 13 percent increase in SNAP benefits and lifted several restrictions governing the length of time that individuals could collect SNAP benefits, at an estimated cost of $20 billion. It also provided nearly $5 billion to the TANF emergency fund, including subsidies to encourage hiring low-income parents.
- State Fiscal Relief: The Recovery Act provided more than $140 billion in state fiscal relief, including $87 billion to support states’ Medicaid programs through a more generous Federal reimbursement rate (known as FMAP) and more than $53 billion to help states keep teachers and first responders on the job through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.
Major Recovery Act Investments in Broadband, Innovation, the Environment, and Housing
In addition to infrastructure and education, the Recovery Act made tens of billions of dollars of additional investments, ranging from broadband to scientific research to the environment, including:
- Expanding Access to High-Speed Broadband: The Recovery Act helped increase access to broadband and drive its adoption across the country, both directly through grants and loans, as well as indirectly through tax incentives like increased expensing of investment costs. It provided $7 billion through grant programs at the Department of Commerce ($4.4 billion) and Department of Agriculture ($2.5 billion) to deploy broadband infrastructure (for instance, laying new fiber-optic cables or upgrading wireless towers, and connecting key institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities) and support public computer centers (establishing new public computer facilities to provide broadband access to the general public or specific vulnerable and underserved populations). The funding also encouraged complementary initiatives, like digital literacy training and outreach campaigns, as well as local broadband planning teams and information technology assistance provided to small businesses, schools, libraries, and local governments. These campaigns included over 20 million training hours and have encouraged more than 671,000 new broadband subscribers. As a result, over 115,000 miles of broadband infrastructure have been added or improved (enough to wrap around the world four and a half times), and about 26,000 community institutions now have a high-speed connection. The Recovery Act and subsequent broadband policies, including freeing up more spectrum for wireless broadband, helped drive a substantial rise in broadband access in recent years. Today, more than 98 percent of Americans have access to high-speed wired or wireless Internet.
- Health Care Information Systems: The Recovery Act provided $32 billion in investments and incentives to support the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. Basic adoption rates of health information technology rose from 17 percent to 51 percent of office-based physicians and from 9 percent to 76 percent of hospitals between 2008 and 2014. Consistent with this rapid progress for advanced systems, the Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that, as of 2015, over half of eligible professionals and about 95 percent of eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals have gone beyond basic adoption of an EHR system and also met the criteria for meaningful use.
- Funding to Make Housing More Energy Efficient and to Help the Hardest-Hit Families and Communities: The Recovery Act included more than $13 billion for projects and programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including to promote energy efficiency in public and assisted housing as well as housing maintained by Native American programs; to invest in additional housing and community development projects; to mitigate the impact of foreclosures through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program; and to prevent homelessness.
- Scientific Research: The Recovery Act provided $3 billion for the National Science Foundation and $1 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It also increased support for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and provided the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) with funding of $400 million.
- Improving Infrastructure for Public Lands and Waters: The Recovery Act made investments of about $1 billion in deferred maintenance of facilities and trails and for other critical repair and rehabilitation projects. These projects helped support the outdoor recreation economy and contributed to the enjoyment of public lands.
- Investments to Promote a Healthier Environment: The Recovery Act funded programs administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contaminated land and put that land back to economic use, reduce air pollution from diesel engines, and reduce contaminants in both surface water and drinking water. EPA’s Brownfields program used $100 million in Recovery Act funds to leverage additional funds and clean up 1,566 acres of properties that are now ready for reuse, far exceeding the original target of 500 acres. The Act’s funding led to 30,900 old diesel engines being retrofitted, replaced, or retired, which has reduced lifetime emissions of carbon dioxide by 840,300 tons and particulate matter by 3,900 tons.
- Business Tax Relief: The Recovery Act included more than $40 billion in tax relief for businesses in 2009 and 2010 to increase cash flows and spur investment. These policies included extended periods for net operating loss carrybacks and bonus depreciation. Building on this approach, the President subsequently proposed 100 percent expensing for business investment, which, as passed by Congress in December 2010, became the largest temporary business investment tax incentive in history. Now that the economy has strengthened and bonus depreciation is no longer needed, the President fought for—and secured—a path to expiration for the provision in the December 2015 bipartisan tax and budget agreement.
Summary of Recovery Act and Subsequent Fiscal Measures
The Recovery Act provided more than $760 billion in economic support, comprised of:
$300 billion in public investments, including:
- Nearly $50 billion in surface transportation infrastructure;
- Roughly $90 billion for clean energy-related investments;
- $32 billion in health information technology;
- $18 billion in scientific research
- More than $50 billion in education and human capital;
- Nearly $7 billion in broadband;
- $10 billion for water infrastructure.
More than $180 billion in tax cuts for middle-class and working families, including:
- $112 billion through the Making Work Pay tax credit;
- $25 billion for poverty-fighting expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC);
- $18 billion for college students and their families through the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).
More than $110 billion in direct aid to the hardest-hit families, including:
- $43 billion for unemployment benefits;
- More than $40 billion in combined funding for SNAP (formerly “Food Stamp”) benefits and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) emergency fund.
- More than $40 billion in businesses tax relief in 2009 and 2010.
More than $140 billion in state fiscal relief, including:
- $87 billion to support states’ Medicaid programs;
- More than $50 billion to help states keep teachers and first responders on the job.
Following the Recovery Act, the President signed into law more than a dozen fiscal measures, providing $674 billion of additional fiscal support through 2012, including:
- $207 billion for payroll tax cuts in 2011 and 2012
- $161 billion for extended unemployment insurance benefits
- $28 billion for tax cuts for working families and students and families paying for college
- Hundreds of billions in combined state fiscal support, additional tax relief for businesses, and other measures.
Data Note: The Congressional Budget Office’s original estimate of the cost of the Recovery Act, $787 billion, was revised to $832 billion. Those figures, though, include $69 billion allocated to a routine set of patches for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). This part of the Act, a continuation of a long-standing practice, is best thought of as ongoing fiscal policy, not as a temporary fiscal impulse designed specifically to counter the effects of an economic recession. Excluding the AMT patch, the Recovery Act provided a total fiscal impulse of $763 billion.