Today, Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D-OH) voted in favor of the Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act of 2008. This legislation provides critical funding for infrastructure, renewable energy development and other initiatives to spur job and economic growth in our country. Families and businesses in Ohio will receive $659 million to help deal with the current financial crisis. This legislation passed by a margin of 264-158 but the President has threatened a veto, even as he insists on a $700 billion bailout package for Wall Street firms.
Congresswoman Sutton released the following statement:
"We need a long-term stimulus to invest in our nation's infrastructure and to help create jobs. This stimulus package will create that long-term investment that I have been calling for. This `jobs' stimulus package will provide $12.8 billion to start rebuilding our highway infrastructure and reducing traffic congestion.
It provides $5 billion for the Corps of Engineers to invest in our water resource infrastructure to protect us from the kind of devastating storms and floods that have affected parts of Ohio this year. And it gives $8.5 billion to repair, rehabilitate and expand water systems. The Summit Road water main in Barberton, in my Congressional District, is 75 years old and has been experiencing numerous and repeated breaks. We need to make the investment to replace this water main and similar aging water systems before disaster strikes. Investing before the problems happen saves money and in some cases, saves lives.
We are providing $3.6 billion to purchase buses to expand public transportation. In my district, Akron METRO needs, at a minimum 15 new buses to replace their aging fleet and to keep up with the record high number of passengers.
With this stimulus, we are making critical investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. As our workers continue to develop more fuel efficient cars, we must match their commitment by investing in advanced battery technology.
And this package sends relief to our families struggling with high food costs, providing an additional $2.6 billion to food assistance programs. We are also preventing cuts to health insurance and health care services for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
We have been hurting for a long time. Since 2001, Ohio has lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs.
Our unemployment rate is currently 7.4%, the highest level since 1986. In early 2001, our unemployment rate was 3.9%. This stimulus will help address our needs by extending unemployment benefits and providing $500 million for job training.
We need to invest in our infrastructure. We need to accelerate the development of advanced battery technology and renewable, domestic energy. We need to extend unemployment benefits and job training. We need to help Americans who can't afford their groceries.
It is my hope that the President will support this jobs stimulus bill to help America's working families and communities in this time of need. If the President can call on Congress to bail out Wall Street with $700 billion without blinking, he should have no problem with this modest plan to help hardworking families. It is certainly a worthwhile investment and it seems inconceivable that the President would not support such important measures for the American people."