Today, Congressman Ben Chandler supported the Jobs for Main Street Act to create and save local jobs by investing billions of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money in America's schools, highways, small businesses, and the jobs of teachers and policemen. Because Congressman Chandler's own green schools bill would create local jobs, Chandler and eleven other members wrote to House leadership urging them to include energy-efficient school modernization in the jobs package. Chandler is pleased that the green renovation and modernization of schools is an eligible use of jobs money.
"As our nation recovers from this economic crisis, the most important thing is putting Kentuckians to work as soon as possible, and green schools renovation is an important part of that," Chandler said. "I am glad we are finally putting this Wall Street bailout money where it belonged in the first place, in the hands of Central Kentuckians to create jobs."
The jobs package will use the remaining funds from TARP, and because this money has already been allocated, this bill will not result in any additional national debt.
In the jobs legislation, $27 billion will be invested in the hiring of teachers, firefighters, and policemen. Nearly $23 billion of this money will be allocated directly to school districts to retain and create jobs in education and to modernize, renovate, and repair public schools. All told, this bill is estimated to create and save 250,000 education jobs, 5,000 law enforcement officers, and recruit and retain America's firefighters.
Infrastructure improvements will receive $48 billion dollars to rebuild highways, bridges, modernize public buildings, and clean air and water. Of the $48 billion, $2 billion will be spent to help communities build facilities for clean and safe water.
Since the Recovery Act passed this year, small business provisions have saved thousands of jobs and resulted in $9 billion in new small business lending. These successful Recovery Act small business programs will be extended to help spur additional job creation and business growth. Fees will be eliminated for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to make them more affordable, while raising the portion of a loan that the SBA will guarantee to 90% will encourage banks to lend to small businesses, giving them more of an opportunity to grow.
The jobs package will also provide $79 billion in emergency relief for struggling families and states. Unemployment benefits will be extended through June 2010, allowing the one million Americans whose unemployment benefits expire on January 1, 2009, to continue to buy the goods and services they need. These funds will also help meet the needs of cash-strapped states, including Kentucky. The legislation extends Recovery Act programs to provide states with additional federal matching funds for Medicaid until June 2011, extends the Child Tax Credit, and it also extends health insurance for unemployed workers through the COBRA program through June of 2010.