Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jobs Are Job One

House Majority leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that he and other House leaders are pushing for a December 18 floor vote on another job creation bill. He said the measure will focus on public sector jobs, job generating tax credits, infrastructure projects, and assistance to state governments. “Clearly, 10.2% unemployment is unacceptable and is causing great pain to literally millions of people around the country,” Hoyer stated.

Hoyer added that he believes the legislation ought to include another extension of unemployment benefits and health insurance premium assistance for those out of work.

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Harry Reid says his first priority after finishing health care reform legislation will be a jobs bill. Senate Democratic Policy Chairman Byron Dorgan echoes that sentiment. “With 10% unemployment, the first priority for our government is to focus on helping the private sector create new jobs,” Dorgan announced. Leaders in both houses are now considering the possibility that a six year Highway Trust Fund reauthorization measure could be designated a jobs bill and pushed through Congress on a faster track than anyone thought possible a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, there are signs that the North American economy may be turning around. Since the beginning of this year, 6,080 new capital investment projects totaling $350.9 billion have begun in the U.S. and Canada. Another 3,633 capital projects, representing investment of $1.2 trillion, though delayed, are still expected to begin in a year or two. The discouraging factor is that 2,835 investment projects, representing $283 billion of investment, have been put on hold indefinitely or cancelled outright.

Highlights of economic investment are the light rail sector, with $17 billion of new construction begun this year, and semiconductor manufacturing, with $10 billion total investment in 2009.
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