Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor released new job numbers showing the loss of another half million jobs and the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 7.2% in December. In Oregon, the rate already tops 8%. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement:
“Last fall, Congress passed a $700 billion bailout of the financial services industry that was supposed to unlock lending and arrest the drop in our economy. It is now clearer than ever that it did not work – it did not address the underlying problems in the mortgage market and it did almost nothing to help working Americans.
“We must learn from that mistake and craft a new economic recovery package that focuses squarely on working Americans. With unemployment at a 16 year high, we have no time to lose – we need immediate action to put our nation back to work. I will work with my new colleagues to make sure we’re investing in job creation, green technology and the infrastructure that is the backbone of our economy.
“There was some good news in the last day – Citibank has expressed its support for legislation that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of home mortgages, just as they can other loans. This is an extremely important provision which I strongly support. This provision recognizes that, to put our economy back on track, we need to directly assist struggling families. It is my hope that this will help clear the way to include this provision in the economic recovery package, keeping hundreds of thousands of Americans in their homes.
“By focusing on the needs of working Americans, we can stop the economic freefall and strengthen communities.”