January 30, 2008


U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, released this statement today following Committee passage of an economic stimulus package.  The package included provisions fought for by Senator Snowe that will benefit seniors, low-income Americans, service-disabled veterans and small businesses:

“We have an obligation to utilize the fiscal tools that are at our disposable to take immediate and decisive action that will help us avoid a recession and blunt the effects of the current fiscal downturn.  This stimulus package takes a significant step forward in achieving those goals. 

“The extension of unemployment benefits that made it into the Chairman’s mark cast a wider economic net that will benefit twenty million low-income Americans and seniors who are living on a fixed income.  I was a steadfast proponent of this extension. 

“With unemployment twice as high today as it was in the 2001-02 recession, it was crucial that we included unemployment benefits so that we could provide relief to the people who need it the most.  This is clearly the case in my home state of Maine, where the State Department of Labor reported that announced lay-offs for February and March are up 75% over the lay-offs that occurred in December and January.

“I am pleased that the Committee agreed to include a provision, offered by Senator Blanche Lincoln and I, which ensured that our nation’s service-disabled veterans’ disability compensation would qualify as ‘income,’ making them eligible to participate in the individual stimulus rebate.  Our nation’s disabled veterans certainly deserve to not be left out of this economic stimulus package and I thank my colleagues for supporting this crucial provision 

“From the onset, I have stressed the role that small businesses will play in our economic recovery.  America’s small businesses constitute 99.7 percent of all employing firms, provide work for nearly half of the private-sector workforce and over the last decade have created approximately three quarters of net new jobs annually. 

“As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I aggressively fought to include in the stimulus package provisions that would increase the amount of investments that businesses can write off in a given year and to extend the number of years that a business can look back upon when offsetting gains with losses.

“As we face these historically challenging times, I am hopeful that the full Senate will act quickly to reconcile this bill with the House version.”