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US needs trillion dollar recovery package

'You can't put out a forest fire with a squirt gun,' says Congressional Progressive Caucus.

US Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)by the Congressional Progressive Caucus

WASHINGTON, DC, December 19, 2008 — As work continues on an economic recovery strategy which is widely expected to take the form of one massive package, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today released a detailed blueprint of recommendations to provide at least $1 trillion to kick start the US economy out of recession and back on the path to recovery and growth. (To view the Cover Letter or the blueprint of recommendations, go to the link at the bottom of the page.)

"What our economy needs, and needs as quickly as we can deliver, is a bold and comprehensive economic recovery package that will kick start our economy into recovery," CPC Co-Chair Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) underscored. " It's got to be big and bold, at least $1 trillion, so that it can reach down to the local level where it can help the people and the communities who need it the most. The only way to do that is to pass a large enough recovery package to shake-up our current situation, anything much less than $1 trillion would be like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun."

"The Progressive Caucus is determined to bring justice and prosperity to the American economy, and this proposal does both," stated CPC Co-Chair Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ). "The American people's urgent needs in health care, employment, education and infrastructure have been neglected for so very long that the basic structure of our economic system has been undermined. Now that the American people have the attention of Wall Street and Washington, we intend to lift their voice and demand the profound change the people voted for."

The priorities highlighted by the CPC focus on providing long term, as well as short term growth, while also ensuring that the funding is targeted to the individuals and communities who need it the most. In addition to already discussed proposals regarding unemployment insurance, food stamps, and health care, the Progressive Caucus Members are ready to work with President-elect Barack Obama to finalize a package that includes the following:

• Physical infrastructure — Rebuild our nation's crumbling infrastructure, generating millions of new jobs with established labor practices and meeting environmental regulations.

• Human capital infrastructure — To build a world-class, 21st century economy, it is vital that the federal government invest in all of our nation's human capital (our most valuable resource), and create opportunities for everyone, including the most vulnerable, to meet their basic human needs, find jobs, and move up the ladder of economic opportunity.

• Keeping people in their homes and housing reform — The federal government must preserve the American dream of home ownership by implementing a moratorium on foreclosures, increasing funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, and investing in public housing repairs.

• Job creation — These investments will be the cornerstone of our new economy as we make immediate and long term investments in education, transportation, and small business development in the field of green energy.

• Fiscal relief for state, local and tribal governments — Renewal of the federal government's commitment to its struggling state partners with the reinvigoration of the CDBG, creation of a new energy block grant to transition communities to new, more efficient green energy sources, and temporary suspension of matching grant requirements for infrastructure projects.

• Education and job training opportunities — Workers who have lost their jobs, as well as those transitioning from other industries, must have access to expanded re-training opportunities so that they can gain the skills sought by local employers. In addition, an increase in funding should be made available through the Workforce Investment Act to train younger workers who are first entering the market.

• Transitional job opportunities — As unemployment continues to rise, it's more important than ever that the federal government enact policies, such as expanded adult services through the Workforce Investment Act, to expand job opportunities for disabled persons and others facing multiple barriers to employment.

• Tax relief for impoverished and low-income families — The federal government must provide true economic stimulus to low income, impoverished families with expansion of the EITC, and a fully refundable child tax credit.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus was established in the US House of Representatives in the early 1990s. It reflects the diversity and strength of the American people, and seeks to give voice to the needs and aspirations of all Americans, and to build a more just and humane society.

Links and sources
  Progressives on trillion dollar recovery package: 'You can't put out a forest fire with a squirt gun', posted to the Congressional Progressive Caucus website December 19, 2008

Posted: January 03, 2009

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