One Million Local Jobs Bill Gains Early Support

A new House bill to directly fund up to one million local jobs is gaining support less than twenty-four hours after it was announced by Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller.

The Local Jobs for America Act, the largest job-creation plan yet proposed in Congress this year, would provide $100 billion to fund wages and benefits for a million workers who would otherwise be unemployed.

The presidents of the bipartisan National League of Cities and U.S. Conference of Mayors were on hand for Chairman Miller’s announcement yesterday, and voiced their immediate support for the plan.

From CivSource:

“Our research at the National League of Cities shows the ability of cities to meet their financial needs is now in jeopardy and will most likely worsen substantially through the rest of 2010,” Ronald Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, Calif. and President of the NLC, said in a statement. “The economy cannot recover quickly if cities falter, and so federal action now is essential.”

“Mayors know from experience that investment in metropolitan economies with direct funding to cities can create and save jobs and can do it quickly,” said Burnsville, Minn, Mayor and USCM President Elizabeth Kautz.

Jobs for America Now, the coalition of more than sixty national organizations including Working America, quickly endorsed the bill:

Jobs for America Now, the nation’s largest jobs coalition, today endorsed legislation by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, that would help put America back to work. Alan Charney, campaign manager of Jobs for America Now, issued the following statement:

“Besides passing health care reform, the most important thing Congress can do right now is to enact legislation that addresses the unemployment crisis in this country. We know that the economy remains weak and the private sector cannot generate enough jobs to put us on a safe and sure path to recovery. With this legislation, Congress is finally taking action to create jobs. We thank Chairman Miller for introducing legislation that will directly fund one million jobs. This is an important step to putting our country back to work.”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) applauded the bill for its support for local communities and schools:

As local, state and school district budgets are being decided for next year, this jobs bill will provide the vital help that communities need to keep teachers teaching, police fighting crime, and firefighters battling blazes. Local governments’ budget situations are dire, and this initiative is both a smart investment for our children and a boost to our economy.

The AFT is especially grateful that the proposal includes $23 billion to help school districts keep 250,000 education jobs. It will preserve the lifeline thrown to states in last year’s Recovery Act.

A child’s life moves on no matter the circumstances—there is no pause button on his or her education. Students need their teachers in classrooms, not on unemployment lines, and this new jobs measure will help keep educators in schools, where they belong.

By focusing assistance grants at the community level, the bill will help retain and create local jobs—increasing demand for the goods and services of local small businesses and spurring the recovery on America’s Main Streets.

The Economic Policy Institute’s Vice President Ross Eisenbrey wrote:

The Local Jobs for America Act is exactly the kind of bold response we need to address the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression. Chairman Miller estimates that the legislation will directly save or create 1 million jobs, though the total impact will likely be even higher because of indirect job creation that happens when people have more money to spend at local businesses. The legislation would act quickly, creating jobs in counties across the country with a minimum of red tape.

The Local Jobs for America Act is an aggressive effort to help put Americans back to work. The House and Senate should act to quickly pass it and get it to the President’s desk for his signature, along with the full-year extension of unemployment compensation and Cobra health benefits that the Senate is poised to approve. We were pleased to have been able to help Chairman Miller develop this legislation, which is similar to proposals included in our American Jobs Plan.

At the Campaign for America’s Future Isaiah J. Poole posted This Jobs Bill Could Work:

The legislation acknowledges a fundamental truth that conservatives refuse to face: You cannot put the economy back on a stable growth path without significant direct government spending on jobs. That’s particularly true for urban areas, where the private sector job base was weak even before the current recession, and social services, which are facing devastating cuts in much of the country as state and local tax receipts dwindle.

Miller deserves credit for introducing legislation that at least elevates the jobs conversation where it should be, at a time when 15 million Americans, and especially the 6.1 million who have been out of work for more than six months, can’t afford to wait for the ephemeral promise of a private sector revival.

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