The Blog

President Obama's Jobs Speech

7:09 PM, Sep 8, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America.  Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country.  Our highways are clogged with traffic.  Our skies are the most congested in the world. 

This is inexcusable.  Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower.  And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?  At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America? 

There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work.  There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.  A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country.  And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating.  How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart?  This is America.  Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now. 

The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools.  It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across this country.  It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures.  It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects across the country.  And to make sure the money is properly spent and for good purposes, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place.  No more earmarks.  No more boondoggles.  No more bridges to nowhere.  We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible.  And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria:  how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy. 

This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat.  The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization.  It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike.  You should pass it right away. 

Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work.  These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher.  But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves.  It’s unfair to our kids.  It undermines their future and ours.  And it has to stop.  Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. 

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans.  We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country.  The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. 

Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and dignity of a summer job next year.  And their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.   

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job.  We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work.  This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job.  The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year.  If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy.  Democrats and Republicans in this Chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past.  At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again – right away. 

Recent Blog Posts