Thursday, December 9, 2010

Statement by Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis on President Obama's framework for bipartisan agreement to extend Unemployment Insurance, help middle-class families

/PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding President Obama's framework for a bipartisan agreement to extend Unemployment Insurance and help middle-class families. The framework includes $56 billion to extend Unemployment Insurance, a $120 billion payroll tax cut for workers, $40 billion in tax cuts for the nation's hardest-hit families and students, and 100 percent expensing for small businesses over the course of 2011.

"Yesterday President Obama laid out a thoughtful framework for a bipartisan agreement that would extend Unemployment Insurance and keep the taxes paid by middle-class families from increasing.

"By the president's own account, the agreement is not perfect. But it is crucial for American families and for the American economy.

"The framework avoids a $3,000 tax increase for the typical working family and ensures that millions of working-class Americans won't see their tax cuts go away next year either. It also continues the American Opportunity Tax Credit for households with college-bound students and the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families. These are high-impact, job-creating tax cuts for working families.

"The agreement also provides a critical extension of unemployment benefits through the end of 2011. Without it, by the end of December, 2 million men and women looking for work would see their unemployment benefits come to an early end. Over the next year, their ranks would increase to more than 7 million people. For these individuals — none of whom were fired or quit, but who lost their jobs through no fault of their own — this means not having to worry their unemployment benefits could be eliminated abruptly as they search for jobs.

"This is a smart investment, not only in those who continue to look for work but for the economy as a whole. Every dollar that goes toward Unemployment Insurance generates $2 in economic activity. In fact, since the start of the recent recession, the Unemployment Insurance program has helped to boost gross domestic product by $315 billion. It also has saved an average of 1.6 million jobs per quarter.

"In addition to the UI extension, the president's framework includes measures for jump-starting growth and spurring private sector job creation. An important payroll tax cut will help more than 155 million workers and provide nearly $120 billion in tax relief next year. The president also fought for a provision that would temporarily allow 2 million businesses to expense all of their investments in 2011. This "complete expensing" could generate more than $50 billion in additional investment, and it would be the largest temporary investment incentive in American history.

"These are all important, responsible, temporary measures to support our economy that will not add costs by the middle of the decade. I share the president's belief that it is not affordable to make the high-income tax cuts permanent and look forward to that debate in the years ahead.

"In the midst of political rhetoric, it can be far too easy to lose sight of the fact that this economy belongs to all of us — whatever our income or employment status. The president understands that, and he is leading the way on a difficult but important compromise.

"I urge federal legislators to support this agreement, not just because it is the right thing to do for those who are desperately looking for work this holiday season but because it is the right thing to do for everyone in America."

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