Washington, DC – The United States Senate today passed legislation proposed by President Obama to arrest the current economic freefall, create jobs and pave the way for future growth. Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley joined sixty of his colleagues in supporting the package.
“In Oregon, we’ve seen a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate every month for the last three months. We need to get to work creating jobs now,” said Merkley. “We are acting decisively to revitalize America’s economy.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invests billions in upgrading our nation’s transportation infrastructure, promoting the development and production of green energy, and repairing public buildings to immediately create or save jobs. The legislation will also cut taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families, including tax credits of $500 per worker or $1000 per family.
A third component of the bill provides vital funding for states to prevent state layoffs and ensure the continuation of important health, education and housing services. While this portion had been reduced under a compromise negotiated last week, Senator Merkley yesterday wrote to the chairs of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees urging them to restore much of the funding for states and school construction during negotiations with the House in order to help states stave off catastrophic service cuts or tax hikes.
“We can and should make improvements so that it is even more effective and provides more help to states to preserve jobs and services, and I’ll be working with leaders in the Senate to make that happen,” said Merkley. In his letter, Merkley also pushed to increase funding in the final bill for green energy initiatives.
“This bill will create jobs in the short term, and help transform our economy so we’re competitive in the long term,” said Merkley. “The Senate faced a choice this week to chart a new path to help our economy get up off the mat or to continue the same failed policies of the last eight years that created this crisis. We have chosen to put working America first.”