Senate’s Jobs Bill

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While the Jobs Bill passed by the Senate on Feb. 24 could potentially open over 1 million new jobs, Marc H. Morial, CEO and President of the National Urban League. views the bill as “timid.”

“This bill simply does not go far enough,” Morial said in a press release. “It’s a tiny step when what we need is a giant leap.”

The Senate Jobs bill is a $13 billion program that lifts social security taxes from companies throughout the year on new employees. Additionally, if the employees remain on payroll for at least a year, companies will also receive a $1,000 tax credit.

United States mayors rallied together in a bipartisan delegation last week that urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to put their differences aside and quickly pass the bill, as Elizabeth Kautz, president of the U.S. Council of Mayors, pointed out that it is a time-sensitive matter. “These unemployment rates will continue to plague our cities for years to come if we don’t act now,” Kautz said in a press release.

While the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes this is a big step in the right direction, they also inform that no one should be under the illusion that this bill alone can address the nation’s unemployment problem.

The National Urban League also believes that the bill won’t solely be the nation’s savior on jobs. “Even if the bill saves or creates the proposed 1.3 million jobs, there is still a lot more work to be done,” Morial said in a press release.

The National Urban League devised a series of provisions to the bill deemed as the “Six-Point Jobs Plan.”

“The central feature of [the plan] is the creation of direct jobs, which means the Federal Government would contract with cities, states, nonprofit organizations, community colleges and universities to give them money to hire people that they need to do various things,” Morial said in an interview with the AFRO this week. “So, the first part of our plan is to create 3 million direct jobs by committing $150 billion from the unused prompt dollars.”

Other points in the plan include giving $5 million to summer programs for youth, increasing the loan limit in the Small Business Administration’s Community Excess Loan Program, and the creation of green empowerment zones, which will prevent businesses that are in high-unemployment areas from paying federal taxes for a three-year period.

The Urban League’s Jobs Plan was discussed in full detail in a letter addressed to the nation’s leaders, where Morial explained that while the pace of economic recovery will be slow, the plan promptly addresses the urgent needs of families nationwide.

Morial also explained additional provisions which include expanding the Urban League’s job training program, which trains high-school dropouts and unemployed citizens for jobs, and expanding the number of housing counselors nationwide to help delinquent borrowers work with their loan servicers to secure more affordable mortgages.