Senate Democrats

Senators Dorgan, Klobuchar Examine Economic Challenges Facing Minnesota and the Nation

Democratic Policy Committee hearing highlights long-term solutions for the middle class

St. Paul, MN – U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair of the Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) conducted a field hearing today to discuss challenges facing the Minnesota and national economies and to showcase strategies for producing stronger long term growth and good middle class jobs.

The DPC is the Senate committee that serves as the official policy and legislative research and development arm of the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus. The information gathered at the St. Paul hearing will be used as the committee works to help chart new economic policies aimed at strengthening the economy for middle class families, Dorgan said.

“Spurring the economy in the short term was the right thing to do,” Dorgan said, “but there is much more work to be done to deal with other fundamental economic problems. Trade, fiscal, and financial market regulatory policies all need attention,” Dorgan said.  “Rebates checks are important, but they are the starting place, not the ending place for this discussion.” 

“Two weeks ago we passed a bipartisan stimulus package to get this economy moving again,’’ Klobuchar said. “But we must also focus on long-term policies to spur economic growth and jobs long after the rebate checks are spent.”

The hearing, conducted by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, included testimony from Minnesota State Economist Tom Stinson, who discussed the challenges facing the state’s economy, and Jacob Hacker, a Yale political science professor who has studied the growing level of economic risk that individuals face in today’s economy.

In addition, the hearing showcased growth possibilities in the renewable energy industry and the potential to create good “green collar’’ jobs. David Foster, executive director of the Blue-Green Alliance in Minneapolis, discussed Minnesota companies that are expanding because of opportunities in clean, renewable energy.

Last week Klobuchar introduced the American Renewable Energy Act, which will create strong, consistent incentives for private sector investment in renewable energy and establish an aggressive, nationwide renewable electricity standard that will require utility companies to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025.  The bill was introduced with Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

“These are long-term investments in the American economy that will create new economic growth and jobs, and increase our energy security” said Klobuchar.  “In addition to tax relief for the middle-class, we also need long-term policies that will spur innovation and drive economic growth for a strong economy.  This package of renewable energy incentives does that.”