Merkley Urges Swift Action to Address Unemployment

Washington, D.C. –
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement in response to today’s jobs report, which showed the nation losing 20,000 more jobs in January, though the national unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent, the lowest level since August 2009:

“Let’s be clear – any decrease in unemployment is welcome, but the big challenge is that millions of Americans are still out of work.

“It is essential that we get a jobs bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible.

“To jump-start our economy, this bill must provide our small businesses with access to credit so they can seize opportunities and create jobs.  To that end, this bill should include a program to get our community banks lending to small businesses again and putting people to work.  I introduced legislation to do just that last year and President Obama recently announced his support for such action.

“The bill should also create jobs by helping families finance energy-saving home renovations that lower monthly bills while saving energy. 

“And it should adopt targeted tax cuts to help middle-class families weather the economic storm as we get the economy moving again.  These cuts will encourage small businesses to hire new employees, help families afford education, and assist people looking to purchase their first home.

 “We must move this legislation forward without delay.  I urge my colleagues to set aside procedural tactics that could slow our effort to create jobs.”