Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered a series of proposals to get Main Street back on its feet. Americans all across the country are watching the value of their homes plummet, their wages stagnate and their cost of living continue to rise, Senator Reid’s proposals address these and other issues. Below are some of Senator Reid’s economic recovery proposals for America’s middle class.
Senator Reid’s Economic Recovery Proposals for America’s Middle Class:
- America’s Displaced Workers Require Immediate Assistance. Senator Reid proposes extending unemployment benefits, tax-free, for those looking for work. In addition, Senator Reid proposes incentives for businesses to hire more workers here at home, rather than sending jobs overseas.
- Families Continue to Struggle With High Energy Costs. Senator Reid proposes assisting families facing higher cooling and heating costs by increasing funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
- According to a Recent Survey By the AARP, An Alarming Number of Americans Are Worried About Paying Their Energy Bills. Approximately three-quarters of respondents expected an increase in home energy costs in the next year. Among that group, 7 in 10 were at least “a little worried” about this expected increase. Over 70 percent of respondents agreed that the government should help to pay some of the home cooling and heating costs for people who cannot afford these costs. [AARP Survey on Home Energy Costs, August 2008]
- The Federal Government Could Create Jobs By Proving Needed Funds to Repair the Nation’s Roads and Bridges. Senator Reid proposes a dramatic increase in funds dedicated to repair the nation’s ailing roads and bridges. According to the Department of Transportation, $1 billion in transportation investment can generate upwards of 47,500 jobs. In addition, the Department of Transportation estimated that every $1 billion invested in infrastructure generates twice that in economic activity. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, over 21.7 percent of the bridges today are structurally deficient or obsolete. Their estimates also found commuters waste 5.7 billion gallons of gas each year stuck in traffic. [Statement by Senator Kit Bond, 3/15/05; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Transcript, 1/31/08; BusinessWire, 2/19/08]
- More Than Half the States Face Budget Shortfalls. As the economy weakens, state and local revenues decline, however the need for public programs increases. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, more than half the states have faced budget shortfalls in the current fiscal year or beyond. In the 29 states (plus the District of Columbia) for which specific estimates are available, the combined deficits totaled at least $48 billion for fiscal 2009. These deficits averaged more than 9 percent of these states’ general fund budgets. Senator Reid proposes assisting states to help them avoid deep cuts in important services like health care, fire, police and education, without steep increases in taxes. [Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, 10/1/08]
- Families All Across the Nation Continue to Face Foreclosure. Senator Reid proposes having the Federal government be more aggressive in using its authority to modify home mortgages. The senator also calls for ending discrimination against Americans who own only one home by allowing them to get the same bankruptcy relief already provided to those who have two or more homes.