Last week, I introduced the New Deal for a New Economy Act, legislation that would put millions of Americans back to work by implementing a 3-year direct job creation and retention program paid for by unused money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Click here to read the bill or here for a one-page summary.
With the unemployment rate at 10 percent, President Obama has stressed the importance of accelerating job growth in the short term. The New Deal for a New Economy Act would do just that. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson, and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich have all called for similar approaches.
The New Deal for a New Economy Act would create at least 3 million jobs through a targeted, three-tiered approach. First, the bill would establish a public works and public interest grant program administered by the Department of Labor to put people back to work immediately, similar to President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. Second, it would distribute direct aid to financially-strapped state and local governments so they can retain their current workforce and make new hires for teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public workers. Finally, it would put Americans back to work renovating our National Parks and Forests, much like the Conservation Corps of the 1970's.
All funding for the bill would be fully offset through returned/unobligated portions of TARP.
The bill goes to substantial lengths to protect current workers. No funding in the legislation can be used to layoff, furlough, terminate or reduce the working hours of any existing employee. Furthermore, it prevents grant recipients from using the funding to hire for positions that would otherwise be filled with permanent employees. Finally, all prevailing wage statutes must be abided by.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act. Click here to see the similarities between that bill and the legislation I introduced. We must continue to find ways to create jobs in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Reregulating Wall Street:
Also last week, the House took an important first step toward putting the financial referees back on the field by passing the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
This bill establishes several major reforms and regulations throughout the financial system. Specifically, among the bill's larger measures, it creates the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), an independent federal agency devoted to protecting Americans from unfair and abusive financial products and services. In addition, the bill strengthens protections on financial institutions such as hedge funds, and creates for the first time ever, a regulatory system for derivatives. It addresses the foreclosure crisis by instituting mortgage and anti-predatory lending reforms. Finally, it reins in the abusive and excessive executive compensation structure by allowing shareholders a "say on pay," an advisory vote on practices such as bonuses and golden parachutes.
Reckless, unregulated behavior on Wall Street has caused great harm to our economy and put millions of ordinary Americans at risk. It is beyond time to protect taxpayers by restoring tough enforcement and oversight of our financial institutions.