Senate Democrats have already begun congratulating themselves on securing enough votes to move forward with grossly inadequate legislation to address the most urgent issue facing the nation today, unemployment. By a 62-30 vote, the Senate approved a $15 billion package that provides $13 billion for companies who hire unemployed Americans and a payroll tax exemption for those workers through the end of this year.
The Senate proposal replaces an earlier $85 billion measure and is a far cry from larger House proposals designed to address widespread unemployment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates more than 15 million Americans are out of work. A more accurate figure of unemployed and underemployed would exceed 30 million.
“The pared down Senate proposal underscores the GOP chokehold in Congress and does not begin to acknowledge the depth or seriousness of the current jobs crisis in this country,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “It’s no surprise voters are outraged when bankers are pocketing billions in bonuses while unemployed Americans are being used as pawns in a cynical game of political gamesmanship.”