Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement following the U.S. Labor Administration's announcement on Friday that $75 million in Recovery Act funds will be made available for on-the-job training. These job training funds will help get Americans back to work. In addition, one month has now passed since the House passed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (HR 4213).
The House-passed jobs bill is designed to create or save more than a million jobs, preserve benefits for those currently seeking employment and close loopholes in the system which helped lead to recent economic hardships. The legislation will restore credit to small businesses, extend tax incentives for American research and development, rebuild infrastructure, expand summer jobs for young people, and provide tax relief for middle class Americans.
"Once again, Senate Republicans are standing in the way. Senate Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility but many of them were here when President Clinton left office with the largest surpluses in American history. Now through their combined efforts with President Bush we have the largest deficits.
"The 41 Republican Senators obstructing the business of Congress should tell Americans why they are spending their time blocking this legislation while families in need are struggling to pay their rent and buy essentials. Let them filibuster so that Americans can see how the Republicans in the Senate are more interested in scoring political points with their right-wing base and defending corporate interests than putting the needs of the middle class and those desperate for work first.
"I remind Republicans that under their leadership, they didn't consider deficit spending a bad thing. In 2001, with a then-largest debt projection in history, Republicans forced through the Bush tax cuts, despite its massive increases to the debt. These cuts disproportionately benefitted the wealthiest, at the expense of causing large deficits.
"That was acceptable for Republicans, but funding for small business lending, innovation, infrastructure, tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment aid is too much for them. Let them continue to delay, and then the American people see for themselves where fault lies."
The Labor Department On-the-Job Training Grants in the bill can jump start re-employment for workers facing long-term unemployment by enabling employers to create training and job opportunities. Employers participating in the projects receive a partial reimbursement to offset the cost of training workers.
The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act includes provisions supported by over 125 key organizations, unions and non-profits, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, AARP, the American Farm Bureau, the National Restaurant Association, and businesses in the R&D Tax Credit Coalition. Democrats in the Senate have been unable to achieve 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican-sponsored filibuster, which is holding up progress on these important initiatives.