Today Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 65 members of the House Democratic caucus sent a letter to the President and House and Senate leadership asking them to include provisions that will boost the economy and create jobs in any legislation to avert tax increases and spending cuts at the end of the year.
Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a return to broad-based prosperity will require sustained improvement in the job market, which in turn requires stronger economic growth.
The letter acknowledges three components to reducing the long-term deficit: increasing revenues, reducing spending, and spurring economic growth and employment. However, the letter emphasizes the need for serious consideration of the President's proposal to include $50 billion in investments in job-creating measures, including infrastructure spending.
"Putting people back to work should actually be the first step, as it will reduce the burden on assistance programs and increase the number of employed workers paying taxes," said Rep. Schakowsky. "We need to be bold in order to reduce the debt in a sustainable way. Creating good jobs will not only help American workers and businesses but it will also help us address our fiscal challenges."
The letter asks the President and Congressional leaders to consider a number of existing proposals that would increase employment, including assistance to states, rebuilding schools, infrastructure funding or establishing an infrastructure bank, and other investments in education, research and development, energy, the health care workforce, and transportation.
House Democrats have also offered dozens of proposals as part of their Make It In America initiative to help American workers and businesses succeed and thrive. Those efforts should be in addition to the necessary extension of expanded unemployment insurance benefits and enactment of a targeted tax credit similar to the Making Work Pay credit.