Congress needs to hear from working families and the unemployed on two important bills now stuck in the legislative process.
Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mark Begich (D-AK) have introduced S. 1517, the 21st Century Works Progress Administration (WPA) Act, a bill to reinstate the 1935 New Deal program which provided 8.5 million jobs during the Great Depression. However, the bill is just sitting in the Senate Finance Committee.
Last year, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) introduced H.R. 494, the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Act, a bill to reinstate the 1933 New Deal program credited for putting more than 2.5 million unemployed Americans back to work conserving and developing America’s natural resources. However, that bill is still sitting in the House Education and Workforce Committee.
The WPA Act authorizes $250 billion to employ individuals who have been unemployed longer than 60 days. Workers would be hired for a host of public works projects, including residential and commercial building weatherization; highway, bridge and rail repairs; school, library and firehouse construction; and manufacturing projects. The program would be paid for through an excise tax on millionaires of 5.4 percent.
The $16 billion CCC Act envisions a renewed emphasis on putting unemployed and underemployed Americans to work immediately planting trees, ending erosion, preventing forest fires and massive flooding and improving rural communities.
A 21st century WPA and CCC is the answer to putting millions of unemployed Americans back to work immediately and getting our country on the road to recovery.