Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) praised passage today of the Jobs on Main Street Act -a measure to create or save American jobs with targeted investments for highways and transit, school renovation, small businesses, job training, and hiring teachers, police, and firefighters. These investments are fully paid for by redirecting unused TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street.
"We have worked very hard over the last year to address the extraordinary economic decline that was left to us by the last Administration," stated Rep. Hoyer. "We passed a Recovery Act that saved or created more than one million jobs and is credited for growing the economy for the first time since the recession began. And throughout the year, we have passed numerous pieces of legislation aimed at job creation and building a lasting economic recovery that restores American prosperity."
"While we succeeded in preventing an economic collapse and have made significant progress on the road to recovery, many Marylanders are still feeling the effects of the recession," said Hoyer. "I believe it is our responsibility to continue to fight to create jobs until every American who wants to work is employed. That is what this jobs bill is intended to do - invest in Main Street to put more people back to work, while simultaneously investing in our people and our communities."
Actions taken by the Democratic Congress and President Obama in the last year have resulted in a significant improvement of the economy since last winter when the country faced a collapse greater than any since the Great Depression. Since President Obama took office, the rate of job loss has steadily declined from 740,000 to just 11,000 last month, and Gross Domestic Product, which was positive last quarter for the first time since the recession began in December 2007, has turned around by 9.9%. American investments are rebounding too, with the stock market rising by 50% since the Recovery Act was signed into law.
In addition to the Recovery Act, Congress has acted to help small businesses take out loans so they can create jobs; to protect responsible consumers from exploitation by credit card companies; to help responsible homeowners keep their homes; and, to expand access to higher education. In addition, the House passed clean energy legislation to create green jobs and make America a world leader in the most important new sector of the economy; voted for health insurance reform to extend secure coverage to millions, bring down premiums for middle-class families, and help small businesses afford coverage and stay competitive; and approved a Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection bill to hold Wall Street accountable for the reckless gambling that helped cause last fall's collapse. That bill will help prevent future crises and take taxpayers off the hook for future bailouts.
Summary of Main Components of Jobs for Main Street Act
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the economic stimulus provided in the Recovery Act led to the creation of an additional 600,000 to 1.6 million jobs, an unemployment rate that was 0.3 to 0.9 percentage points lower than it would have been, and overall economic growth that was 1.2% to 3.2% higher. While the rate of job losses continues to go down, additional measures are needed to encourage more hiring and put Americans back to work.
Highways, Transit and Other Infrastructure
The bill invests $48 billion to help put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing public buildings, and cleaning our air and water, including:
* Highways & Transit-- Invests more than $35 billion in highways and mass transit. Every $1 billion of federal investments in highways creates an estimated 27,800 jobs without the state match.
* School Renovation - Spurs billions in immediate investment in school construction, rehabilitation and repair.
* Clean Water and Housing - Provides $2 billion to help communities build facilities for clean and safe water and $2 billion to help communities build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable rental homes for very low-income households and for repairs and rehabilitation of public housing.
Hiring of Teachers, Police, Firefighters & Job Training
* Education-Includes $23 billion to help states save or create an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years with an Education Jobs Fund solely focused on paying salaries.
* Police & Firefighters - Puts over 5,000 law enforcement officers on the beat and invests in hiring and retaining firefighters.
* Training - Invests about $2 billion for other hiring and training programs, that will support 25,000 more Americorps volunteers and 250,000 youth summer jobs; expand college work study jobs for 250,000 students; and support job training for 150,000 people in high growth industries, such as health care and clean energy jobs, at community colleges.
The package extends several Recovery Act initiatives to help America's small businesses create jobs:
* Eliminating fees on Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to make them more affordable for small businesses, and
* Encouraging banks to lend to small businesses by raising to 90 percent (from 85 percent) the portion of a loan that the Small Business Administration will guarantee.
Small business provisions in the Recovery Act have already supported tens of thousands of loans, helping to save or create thousands of jobs - totaling $9 billion in new small business lending since the Recovery Act's passage.
Emergency Relief to Families Hit by the Recession
For those hardest hit by the Recession, the bill includes emergency relief - extending unemployment benefits and help with health benefits for those out of work. Not only does this help those families in need, but these provisions generate demand for goods and services in the economy as a whole.
* Unemployment Benefits -- Extends emergency unemployment benefits through June of 2010. The program expires at the end of the year and without an extension, roughly one million Americans will lose their emergency benefits in January 2010.
* Help with Health Insurance for Unemployed Workers (COBRA) -- Extends through June 30, 2010 a key provision to strengthen COBRA to help maintain health coverage during this downturn. (It makes these benefits available for people who were involuntarily separated from their jobs through June 30, 2010 and extends period of assistance from 9 months to 15 months.) About 7 million people benefited from this provision in the Recovery Act and hundreds of thousands who got this subsidy when it was first made available in March are currently slated to roll off the program.
* Protecting Health Care Coverage for Millions through Medicaid (FMAP) -- Extends the provisions in the Recovery Act that provide the states with additional federal matching funds for Medicaid for six months - from December 31, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
* Child Tax Credit - Cuts taxes for the families of 16 million children, by making the Child Tax Credit available to all low-income working families with children in 2010. (Under the Recovery Act, families must earn at least $3,000 in order to begin to take advantage of the $1,000 Child Tax Credit.)