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The Economy and Jobs

Democrats continue to focus on creating American jobs and strengthening the economy--because we must bring down the unemployment rate and restore American job security. In the 111th Congress, Congressional Republicans voted in lock step against job creation, tax cuts and recovery efforts and instead support the special interests--Wall Street banks, Big Oil and insurance companies. Those economic policies brought us the Bush recession with Americans facing job losses of nearly 800,000 a month and the economy contracting by more than 6 percent. Until all Americans are back to work, more must and will be done on behalf America's middle class and working families, but there is mounting independent evidence that the Recovery Act and other job-creation efforts are spurring an American economic recovery.

Since 2007, the Democratic-led Congress implemented a broad economic plan to bring opportunity and fiscal security to all Americans, not just the wealthy few. Democrats raised the minimum wage; passed economic recovery legislation providing recovery rebates for more than 130 million American families; and passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to jumpstart our economy, create and save 3.5 million jobs, give 98% of American working families and individuals a tax cut, and begin to rebuild America's road, rail, and water infrastructure. We worked to make health care, energy, and education affordable for all Americans, and address our nation's foreclosure crisis. The Democratic-led Congress and President Obama also worked together to enact an array of broad-based tax cuts for working and middle-class families and small business owners--ending an era of Republican tax breaks focused only on the wealthy.  These tax cuts are injecting consumer demand into the economy and spurring job creation.

Republicans have held the House majority for more than 230 days and here is their record:

  • Have failed to pass a single piece of legislation to create jobs.
  • Have actually voted to pass legislation that would destroy nearly 2 million jobs, including:
    • Passed the “So Be It” spending bill to slash investments in our economic future like education, college aid, life-saving medical research, infrastructure, and clean energy, and cut 700,000 jobs.
    • Passed a budget that would cost Americans 1.7 million jobs by 2014, with 900,000 jobs lost next year, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.
    • Passed GOP Patients' Rights Repeal bill puts insurance companies back in charge of health care and repeals the Affordable Care Act, thereby destroying more than 300,000 jobs.
  • Have voted 10 times against Democratic initiatives or efforts to consider Democratic initiatives to create jobs, including:
    • The China Currency bill that could help create about 1 million American manufacturing jobs.
    • An American jobs effort to end government contracts rewarding corporations that ship American jobs overseas.
    • A Build America Bonds proposal that leverages public dollars to strengthen the private sector, growing our economy by rebuilding America's schools, hospitals, and transit projects.

Democrats are calling on Washington Republicans to start working with us to quickly enact several measures that could create jobs now and set us on a course of economic prosperity and growth.

  • Key proposals in our “Make It In America” Agenda.  By rebuilding our manufacturing sector, we can create the high-skill, high-wage jobs of the future, promote American competitiveness, innovation, and exports, and make our nation more secure.  Learn more about the Make it in America agenda»
  • Rebuilding American roads and transit through a robust Highway bill that will create jobs - rejecting the House GOP approach that would slash investments and would destroy more than 600,000 jobs.
  • A robust FAA Reauthorization bill that will create 150,000 jobs and strengthen the economy - rejecting the House GOP approach that would cut funding and would destroy more than 70,000 jobs.
  • A bipartisan Infrastructure Bank proposal that can create millions of new jobs by creating a private-public partnership to finance needed projects to rebuild and modernize our roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, airports, railways, ports, broadband, and power grids.
  • A China Currency bill that could help create from one-half to more than 2 million manufacturing jobs by providing our government with effective tools to address unfair currency manipulation by countries like China and level the playing field for America's manufacturers, small and large.
  • A one-year extension of Unemployment Insurance for the millions of Americans who are looking for work, that currently expires at the end of 2011.  Every dollar of Unemployment Insurance creates at least $1.61 in economic activity, according to chief economists Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com - creating consumer demand and jobs. 
  • Legislation to create clean energy jobs, such as a proposal to ensure the cars of the future are built here in America by investing in a broad range of cutting-edge vehicle technologies and to provide incentives that move use to natural gas, hybrid and electric heavy duty vehicles.

Democrats are building an economic approach that lifts every American, not just the privileged few. The average American CEO earns more before lunchtime in one day than a minimum wage worker earns all year. It is time to restore the American Dream for our children.

Learn more about what's happening in Congress on the economy and jobs on our blog, The Gavel»

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEGISLATIVE ACTION ON THE ECONOMY IN THE 111th CONGRESS:

SIGNED INTO LAW & WORKING FOR THE AMERICAN ECONOMY
AMERICAN RECOVERY & REINVESTMENT ACT  

  • Responsible for up to 3.6 million jobs, including teachers, police and firefighters
  • More than a third was tax cuts for 98% of Americans and small businesses
  • Rebuilding America with clean energy and 21st century jobs

HIRING INCENTIVES TO RESTORE EMPLOYMENT (HIRE) ACT 

  • Will help create 300,000 jobs, unleash tens of billions of dollars to rebuild infrastructure
  • Tax cuts for businesses to hire, accelerated write-offs for small businesses
  • Cracking down on offshore accounts for corporations and the wealthy 

WORKER, HOMEOWNERSHIP & BUSINESS ASSISTANCE ACT

  • Boosting the economy with emergency relief for Americans hit by the recession
  • An expanded first-time homebuyer tax credit
  • Tax relief for small businesses and other struggling U.S businesses through net operating loss provision

SMALL BUSINESSES JOBS ACT

  • Leverages billions in loans for small businesses through a lending fund for community banks
  • Invests in innovative state small business lending programs
  • Provides tax incentives to spur investment in small businesses and the formation of new small businesses

HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM  

  • Will create up to 4 million new jobs over the decade, primarily in small businesses

STUDENT AID & FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT  

  • Largest investment in college aid in history to make education more affordable
  • Increasing Pell Grants and strengthening community colleges and minority-serving institutions

CASH FOR CLUNKERS   

  • Spurred the sale of 700,000 vehicles
  • America's automakers are now paying back the taxpayers and creating jobs again

CREDIT CARDHOLDERS' BILL OF RIGHTS

  • Provides tough new protections for consumers
  • Bans unfair rate increases, abusive fees, and penalties
  • These new credit card restrictions, along with overdraft limits by the Federal Reserve, will save U.S. consumers at least $5 billion in fees this year at the largest U.S. retail banks and credit card companies

WALL STREET REFORM

  • A lack of accountability for Wall Street and big banks cost 8 million jobs
  • Common sense new rules to foster the flow of credit to create American jobs
  • Ends taxpayer-funded bailouts and the idea of “too big to fail”
  • Protects & empowers consumers to make sound decisions on homes, credit cards, and other finances

PASSED BY HOUSE - AWAITING SENATE ACTION
AMERICAN JOBS AND CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE

  • Closes tax loopholes, making Wall Street billionaires pay a fair tax on their income
  • Promotes American jobs by restoring credit to small businesses, extending tax incentives for American R&D and energy, rebuilding American infrastructure, expanding youth jobs, and providing tax relief for middle class American families.
  • Enforces corporate accountability, making the oil industry pay to ensure sufficient funds to clean up oil spills.
    (This summarizes those provisions not yet enacted into law in other legislation.)

 

HOME STAR JOBS ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE 

  • Provides immediate incentives for consumers to make their homes more energy-efficient:
    • Creating 168,000 jobs in construction, manufacturing, and retail - some of the hardest hit sectors by the Bush recession
    • Cutting energy costs by up to $500 per year for 3 million families
    • Reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and dirty fuels

“MAKE IT IN AMERICA”--PASSED BY HOUSE

  • A national manufacturing strategy to rebuild America, bring home good-paying jobs, and make our nation more secure in the process.
  • The House passed a number of “Make It In America” bills including those that will:
    • Provides effective tools to address the unfair trade practice of currency manipulation by foreign countries, including China in order to help create 1 million American jobs, and take steps to reduce the trade imbalance;
    • enhance the competitiveness of clean energy firms and help rural families and increase demand for American-made energy efficiency goods;
    • build training partnerships between unions, businesses, and educators;
    • ensure that Congress and the Department of Homeland Security buy American-made goods; and
    • direct the president to work with business and state leaders to develop a national manufacturing strategy.
  • Because strong manufacturing means a strong middle class and sustainable job creation, the "Make It In America" agenda has the support of both business leaders and labor unions.

COMPETES ACT REAUTHORIZATION--PASSED BY HOUSE

  • Our innovation agenda--investing in modernizing manufacturing; basic R&D; high risk/high reward clean energy research; and teaching science, technology, engineering and math
  • Keeping our nation on a path to double funding for basic scientific research, crucial to some of our most innovative breakthroughs, over 10 years
  • Creating jobs with innovative technology loan guarantees for small and mid-sized manufacturers and Regional Innovation Clusters to expand scientific and economic collaboration
  • Promoting high-risk high reward research to pioneer the cutting edge discoveries of tomorrow through ARPA-E and Energy Innovation Hubs for American energy independence
  • Creating the next generation of entrepreneurs by improving science, math, technology, and engineering education at all levels
  • Supported by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable

JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE 

  • Creates and saves jobs with targeted investments to:
    • Rebuild highways and transit
    • Rehabilitate and repair schools
  • (This summarizes those provisions not yet enacted into law in other legislation.)

SMALL BUSINESS AND INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS TAX ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE 

  • Extends successful Build America Bonds for schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and rail lines
  • Creates 160,000 jobs with aid to states to provide subsidies to employers who hire workers
  • Cracks down on foreign tax haven corporations that dodge U.S. taxes and gain an unfair advantage over American companies playing by the rules through the U.S. tax treaty network
    (This summarizes those provisions not yet enacted into law in other legislation.)

DISASTER RELIEF AND SUMMER JOBS ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE 

  • Gives disaster-stricken communities aid to rebuild their homes, infrastructure and local economies
  • Creates about 300,000 summer job opportunities for young people

JOB CREATION THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE

  • Gives established small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups the needed tools and resources to thrive, create jobs and drive economic growth. 

SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING & INVESTMENT ACT--PASSED BY HOUSE

  • Reforms federal small business lending to help save or create 1.3 million jobs annually--making it easier and more affordable to get loans and access capital.
  • Takes steps to encourage smaller lenders to help rural businesses and veteran-owned businesses obtain affordable credit and streamlines application processes making it easier for small businesses to access the loans and investments they need.