Pa. in Line for $16B in Aid, Biden Says

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG -- About $16 billion will flow to Pennsylvania under a $790 billion federal stimulus bill that Congress could vote on as early as today, Vice President Joe Biden said.

"It will be the infusion of $16 billion, quickly, into the state of Pennsylvania," Biden said Wednesday during a visit to the Capitol.

But a top Pennsylvania Republican called the bill "a crapshoot with our future tax dollars."

The compromise legislation contains $6 billion in tax breaks for about 4.9 million Pennsylvanians, $1 billion for food stamp recipients, $1 billion in additional benefits for the unemployed and money for home weatherization programs, Biden said at a news conference. He was accompanied by Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

Biden, a Scranton native, made his comments shortly before House and Senate negotiators agreed on a $790 billion compromise bill, which awaits approval by both chambers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the legislation should create 3.5 million jobs nationwide. President Obama said he wants it on his desk by the weekend.

The stimulus package would provide $1.5 billion for transportation projects in Pennsylvania and create 45,000 jobs in the state, said Biden, who did not provide documents to back up that assertion.

Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason Jr. of Johnstown said "it's a spending bill masquerading as a stimulus bill. …