Earlier this evening, US Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. The discussion, jobs and the economy. Hensarling pushed back on the American Jobs Act, claiming he has a better bill. Specifically, he said he has a six-year highway bill that would invest much more than the President’s plan, costing billions to address Texas’ infrastructure. Unfortunately, Hensarling offered no practical way to pay for his bill, nor has he been successful in getting support from Republican leadership. At one point, he said he doesn’t care what the “pay-fors” are, he just wants to get a bill passed.
In stark contrast, the President’s plan is a robust proposal that goes beyond infrastructure and deals with the unemployed long and short-term, seeks to reform the outdated unemployment insurance structure, revitalize blighted neighborhoods and business structures, modernizes public schools and community colleges and creates a pathway to employment for low-income youth and adults, providing them with work opportunities and training for today’s workforce. Floods, fires, tornadoes and a slumping economy forcing more Texans out of work ou of their businesses and their homes, one has to wonder what Hensarling is thinking by standing firm against a plan that would do so much for his constituents and his state. If Hensarling gets behind the President’s plan, this is what Texans would gain:
- 390,000 Texan firms will receive a payroll tax cut.
- Put Texans back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing the state.
- $2,598,500,000 immediate investments to support a minimum of about 33,800 local jobs to modernize Texas’ highways, transit, rail and aviation.
- $2,565,500,000 in funds to support up to 39,500 educator and first responder (firemen, police, etc.) jobs. These funds would help Texas (state and local government) avoid and reverse layoffs now.
- $2,332,100,000 in funding to support as many as 30,300 jobs focusing on improving classrooms and upgrading schools to meet 21st century needs.
- $114,100,000 to revitalize local communities by rehabilitating thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. This is in addition to funds that would be available through a competitive application.
- $458,400,000 in funding in the next fiscal year for Texas community colleges to make sure they have the facilities and equipment to meet the demands of today’s highly technical and growing fields.
- Reforms the unemployment insurance (UI) system help 329,000 long-term unemployed workers in Texas without jobs transition to the workplace.
- Extend unemployment insurance, preventing 123,900 people looking for work in Texas from losing their benefits in just the first 6 weeks.
- Creates Pathways Back to Work Fund to offer low-income youth and adults work opportunities and training in growth industries. The program could place 8,700 adults and 29,200 youths in jobs in Texas.