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The American Jobs Act: the Time to Act is NOW
President Obama made his jobs presentation to Congress and to the American people on Thursday evening. He was pretty dynamic and very determined. His $450 billion proposal, entitled the American Jobs Act, is comprehensive and is paid for by additional cuts in the federal budget. His constant refrain in his speech was for Congress to pass the plan now, and that the American people cannot wait. I know we all agree the need to act is now.
Because the recent storms have been so overwhelming and caused so much disruption and damage, many of you did not have the opportunity to view the President's presentation. Consequently, I am providing this video of the President, along with some analysis.
Watch Entire Speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/09/08/president-obama-presents-american-jobs-act-enhanced-version
According to the White House, the purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. Here’s how:
First, it provides a tax cut for small businesses, not big corporations, to help them hire and expand now, and provides an additional tax cut to any business that hires or increases wages.
Second, it puts more people back to work, including up to 280,000 teachers laid off by state-budget cuts, first responders and veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and construction workers repairing crumbling bridges, roads and more than 35,000 public schools, with projects chosen by need and impact, not earmarks and politics. And, it expands job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of low-income youth and adults through a new Pathways Back to Work Fund that supports summer and year round jobs for youth; innovative new job training programs to connect low-income workers to jobs quickly; and successful programs to encourage employers to bring on disadvantaged workers.
Third, it helps out-of-work Americans by extending unemployment benefits to help them support their families while looking for work and reforming the system with training programs that build real skills, connect to real jobs and help the long-term unemployed. It bans employers from discriminating against the unemployed when hiring, and provides a new tax credit to employers hiring workers who have been out of a job for over 6 months.
Fourth, it puts more money in the pockets of working and middle class Americans by cutting in half the payroll tax that comes out of every worker's paycheck, saving families an average of $1,500 a year’ and taking executive action to remove the barriers that exist in the current federal refinancing program (HARP) to help more Americans refinance their mortgages at historically low rates, save money and stay in their homes.
Last, the plan won’t add a dime to the deficit and is fully paid for through a balanced deficit reduction plan that includes closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.
Many leading economists and corporations’ executive officers weighed in on the proposal. Pimco CEO Bill Gross said if it is passed, it could lead to “hundreds of thousands of jobs.” Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons issued a statement noting, “The President's proposed combination of personal and business tax relief, targeted spending to support infrastructure, and aid to states offers several direct and innovative ways of creating jobs and bolstering our economy. The President's focus on assisting small business is spot on, since small business is the engine of job creation.”
You can read additional thoughts and comments from other business leaders at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/09/09/experts-confirm-american-jobs-act-will-create-jobs.
It is time to put differences aside and put this jobs package in place – the American people have suffered far too long. I know so many of you unfortunately understand this struggle first hand. I encourage everyone to let his or her member of Congress know that you want the American Jobs Act passed now. TOGETHER, we can put people back to work.
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes