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Barbara Lee: ‘Don’t call it a jobs bill’

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 4:03 pm in Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Dianne Feinstein, economy, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.

The U.S. Senate voted 70-28 today to pass a $15 billion jobs bill, sending it back to the House; eight Republicans who on Monday either opposed or didn’t vote on ending debate and bringing the bill to a final floor vote actually voted to pass it today. Maybe they have some ‘splainin’ to do?

The bill would give tax breaks to businesses that hire unemployed people, and would jump-start spending on public works projects. When the House passed it in December on a 217-212 vote, it had been a much broader, $154 billion bill.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says the version the Senate passed today is dandy:

“This jobs bill is a positive step forward and welcome news for California, where the unemployment rate is 12.4 percent and more than 2.25 million Californians out of work.

“It was passed with Republican support, and I’m hopeful that this is a sign of a new bipartisanship in the Senate on one of the greatest issues facing the nation. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues — Democrats and Republicans — to pass more legislation that puts Americans back to work.”

U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Commiteee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., agrees:

“Today, 70 Senators voted ‘aye’ and recognized the need to put jobs over politics. The infrastructure measures in this bill are going to save or create well over a million jobs.”

But Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, calls the bill “disappointing, to say the least:”

“Since President Obama’s announcement of the jobs bill in December, the CBC has expressed to the White House, House and Senate leadership interest in ensuring the chronically unemployed be targeted for opportunities to seek training and employment in the jobs bill.

“Data that suggest that the chronically unemployed include African Americans and other communities of color with unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average; youth and adult workers in need of enhanced education and training; and those who have lost their jobs as a result of the weakened economy and/or have been unemployed for at least six months.

“When presented with a powerful opportunity to create jobs and address the growing unemployment rates among the chronically unemployed, the Senate responded with a whimper. A ‘go slow’, piecemeal approach will do little to address our nation’s need for employment.

“It is critical that policy solutions include not only small business relief but worker training, the use of existing federal programs and targeted job creation to those communities with the highest rates and longest history of unemployment. Until the needs of the chronically unemployed are met, we implore leadership to stop calling this ‘the jobs bill.’”

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  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    What a load of (you name it)! The CBC ought to examine why the “chronically” jobless are unwanted in the workforce when the economy is booming.