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Strengthening America's Economy: Hardworking Families Struggling With Skyrocketing Prices

In February, the Congress passed a bipartisan economic stimulus package to help families with high costs of gas, health care and groceries, and to jumpstart our slowing economy.  Those recovery rebates will reach Americans starting in May.  The past few months have seen the crisis deepen - including job losses, record foreclosures, and rising unemployment.  The strain of the economic downturn on middle-class families demands a second stimulus and relief package now.

The Democratic-led House wants to help bring more relief to American families now:

The House voted on April 10th to remove the restrictive timelines in the Colombia free trade bill to allow time to develop bipartisan legislation boosting the economy and helping Americans cope with rising costs of gas, health care, and groceries, as Congress did earlier this year with the stimulus package.

The President should join Democrats at the negotiating table to strengthen the economy and create jobs:

Last Wednesday, the bipartisan leadership of Congress met with President Bush to discuss the economic crisis facing American families.  Democratic Congressional leaders look forward to the President and Republican leaders scheduling another meeting to begin serious discussions on expanding the American economy, creating jobs, and bringing relief to American workers.

Below are a few facts about the economy facing hardworking families:

Facts about the Bush Economy:

  • Foreclosures have jumped 57 percent over the past year with one in 538 U.S. households in some stage of foreclosure. [Bloomberg, 4/15/08]
  • Gas prices have reached a record $3.39 a gallon - 53 cents more than a year ago, more than double in 2001--and recently oil prices climbed to $113.93 per barrel - an all-time high record. [AAA, 4/15/08; CNN, 4/15/08]
  • “Inflation at the wholesale level soared in March at nearly triple the rate that had been expected as the costs of energy and food both climbed rapidly.” [AP, 4/15/08]
  • Food costs in the United States are the highest in 17 years and there is no sign of slowing. “Eggs cost 25 percent more in February than they did a year ago, according to the USDA. Milk and other dairy products jumped 13 percent, chicken and other poultry nearly 7 percent.” [AP, 4/15/08]
  • “Sharp rises in the cost of milk, grain and fresh fruits and vegetables are hitting cafeterias across the country, forcing cash-strapped schools to raise prices or pinch pennies by serving more economical dishes. Some school officials on a mission to help fight childhood obesity say it's becoming harder to fill students' plates with healthy, low-fat foods.” [Washington Post, 4/14/08]
  • The number of American jobs has declined in each of the past three months by a total of 232,000. [CNN, 4/4/08]
  • The unemployment rate increased to 5.1 percent in March - the highest level since Hurricane Katrina. [Los Angeles Times, 4/4/08]
  • Since 2001, premiums for family health coverage have climbed 78 percent, with workers paying more than $3,200 per year. A record 47 million Americans are without health insurance. [Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/11/07; CPS, 8/07]
  • Since 2001, the real income of a typical family has fallen by nearly $1,000. [CPS, 8/07]