Over the past six months, the Congressional Black Caucus has directed significant efforts to enact a job direct creation legislation to help those Americans hurting the most. As a result of those efforts the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, an important job creation measure that included several key provisions sought by members of the Congressional Black Caucus in recent months.
The bill includes $1 billion for a youth summer jobs program and an additional $2.5 billion in emergency assistance for needy families as well as funds to settle a decades-long discrimination suit by Black Farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also we finally paid the debt to the Native American community in this bill. Ongoing advocacy of the42-member caucus was instrumental in securing resources for communities most in need.
“For more than a year, the Congressional Black Caucus has been focused on jobs, jobs, jobs— and making sure that the chronically unemployed are included,” said CBC Chairwoman
Specifically, the legislation will provide $1 billion to support over 350,000 jobs for youth ages 14 to 24—an age group with some of the highest unemployment rates. In addition, the $2.5 billion for emergency assistance for needy families will subsidize all or part of the wages for a worker in public and private sector jobs.
Over a period of months, the Congressional Black Caucus has issued several dozen letters and statements about the urgent need to create jobs and stimulate the economy, particularly for the chronically unemployed. CBC members met with President Obama at the White House to discuss jobs, and held additional meetings with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House leadership, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to negotiate these provisions and galvanize support. In response to the urgent need to respond to the jobs crisis, the CBC fought for an “emergency designation” for summer youth jobs.
In addition to working with leadership, in March the CBC organized a hearing, “Out of Work but Not Out of Hope: Addressing the Crisis of the Chronically Unemployed,” which featured testimony from a wide-range of experts in labor economics and workforce development. This week the CBC co-sponsored a forum on direct job creation focused on House legislation sponsored by the CBC and Education and Labor Chairman George Miller.
“We pushed hard to ensure that today’s jobs bill targets resources to communities with the most urgent need for help,” said Chairwoman Lee, who thanked House and Senate Leadership, Chairmen Levin, Rangel, Obey and Miller for working with the CBC to craft this legislation. “Because of the work of the CBC, today the House of Representatives made a significant investment in direct job creation. This is the best way to turn this economy around and to help tackle the deficit, but it is also the morally right thing to do.”
Additionally, the CBC secured the inclusion of $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund, which will provide communities with funds to build, preserve and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for low-income families.
The other provisions included in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act would:
• Provide important tax cuts to put money back in the pockets of working families;
• Help restore the flow of credit to enable small businesses to expand and hire new workers by extending small business loan programs;
• Expand career training programs for Americans who are looking for work;
• Extend eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits for workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own;
• Ensure that seniors, military service members and Americans with disabilities continue to have access to doctors they know and trust; and
• Close tax loopholes for wealthy investment fund managers and foreign operations of multi-national companies.
-- 30 --