Americans across the country have felt the effects of our economy's serious downturn, starting with the housing and credit crisis, and growing into a financial crisis across the globe. I remain committed to improving our current economic outlook by supporting legislation that will help New Jersey's families, stimulate our economy, and create jobs.
Helping to Stimulate the Economy and Encourage Job Growth:
The key to improving our economy is to rebuild our once robust manufacturing sector. I have supported the Democratic Make It In America Agenda, in order to rebuild America's manufacturing industry and put the men and women of this nation back to work. The Make It In America Agenda is an initiative aimed at creating jobs today, driving economic recovery, and moving America forward. I have cosponsored several pieces of legislation as part of this initiative. I support H.R. 1912, the Make It In America Block Grant Act, to establish a grant program at the Department of Commerce to provide small to medium-sized businesses with the resources and strategies to modify their operations and train their workforce in order to transition to the manufacturing of clean energy and high-technology. I have also cosponsored H.R. 1325, the American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Achievement Works (AMERICA Works) Act, which would equip American workers for today's job market by helping workers earn certifications, degrees, and other necessary qualifications that will make them more competitive in the workforce. Additionally, I support H.R. 992, the Building American Jobs Act, which would help finance infrastructure projects to improve communities and create jobs by extending and improving existing bond and credit programs.
Additionally, the renewable energy sector has the potential to create millions of quality American jobs throughout the next decade. In the past, I have supported policies that provide the necessary incentives to promote the renewable energy sector. Supporting initiatives that curb our nation's energy use and encourage the development of renewable energy sources not only protects the future of our planet, but it is a smart way to create jobs in emerging industries.
Protecting Our Middle Class Families:
With many families still facing tremendous financial strain, it is imperative that Congress continue to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for another year. Over the past year, the payroll tax cut has reduced the Social Security payroll tax for nearly 160 million workers, including 4.7 million in New Jersey. I strongly believe that we must continue to keep money in the hands of working Americans if our economy is to remain stable. Extending the payroll tax cut for a full year will help American families save an average of $1,000 per year.
While our unemployment rate is gradually decreasing, it is still critical that we continue to extend unemployment benefits for millions of families to ensure they receive much needed income and assistance as they seek further employment. Failing to extend unemployment benefits would irresponsibly pull the plug on the unemployed and erase the gains that our economy has made. Helping people who lost employment through no fault of their own while they get back in the job market is a sensible way to ensure that money is moving through our economy. I will continue to fight to ensure that middle-class Americans are provided with the necessary financial relief during difficult circumstances.
I support investments that will keep our nation moving in the right direction. By providing support to American families and critical funding for projects that spur economic development and job growth, we are working to ensure economic stability for New Jerseyans. While some progress has been made in turning our economy around, the credit squeeze is still being felt by the average American and the country continues to see high rates of foreclosures. I will continue to work with my colleagues to address these important issues and ensure that our economy fully recovers.