In early September, President Barack Obama proposed the American Jobs Act, a large-scale effort to create jobs, assist the long-term unemployed, and advance American competitiveness. Sharing the details with the American public before a joint session of Congress, President Obama highlighted a few of the ways the American Jobs Act would jump-start the economy, put people back to work, and put money in the pockets of American families. Among other things:
It would continue federal jobless benefits for another year, which keeps more Americans from falling into poverty and boosts demand for goods and services, creating jobs for other Americans.
It would provide funding to keep teachers, firefighters, and police officers on the job, as well as funding to put Americans back to work repairing schools, roads, and bridges.
It would make key investments for low-income and long-term unemployed workers, including subsidized employment and summer job opportunities for low-income and long-term unemployed Americans, and a payroll tax cut that will reach low- and moderate-income workers.
The Census Bureau’s recently released data on poverty underscores the urgency with which Congress should pass the American Jobs Act. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans, or 46.2 million people, are now living in poverty, making this the highest number on record since the Census starting keeping track in 1959. More than a third of the population is low-income, struggling to get by on incomes below $44,000 a year for a family of four. More than 1 in 4 African Americans and Latinos are living in poverty, rates which still more than double that of whites. What’s more, many of these same families are seeing their challenges compounded by hunger, unemployment, and foreclosure.
Congress needs to hear from you! If you have direct experience in the areas of construction, education, or long-term unemployment, share your thoughts on new proposals to create jobs with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce—they need to hear from you.
Please make your voice heard today and urge Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, including the critical provisions outlined above. With so many Americans living in poverty and struggling with unemployment, we can’t afford to wait.