MIL-OSI USA: Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Ilhan Omar and Jamaal Bowman Introduce Fully Funded Federal Jobs Guarantee Program

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman

June 03, 2024

Today, Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Ilhan Omar (MN-05) and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) introduced the Workforce Promotion and Access (WPA) Act

The WPA Act would establish a fully-funded federal jobs program, targeted to support communities with exceptionally high unemployment rates. The program would be fully paid for by a 0.1% tax on Wall Street stock trades.

The jobs encompass a wide range of important community services, including infrastructure, child care, elder care, and health care. At $17 an hour minimum, these jobs provide a genuine opportunity for economic security in communities that need it most.

“While we have made great gains in reducing unemployment since the pandemic, not everyone has been brought along in this great recovery,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “My bill, the WPA Act, would marshall the scope and capacity of the federal government to get people back to work, by providing well-paying, dignified, government-backed jobs in their communities. And this isn’t busywork. Jobs in infrastructure, child-care, elder-care, and health care will ensure that our communities can thrive, while providing well-paying jobs with dignity and respect. And the best part? It’s fully paid for by a 0.1% tax on Wall Street stock trades. President Roosevelt’s New Deal famously left Black people out of the bargain, but my bill is targeted to support the communities who need it the most. It’s win-win legislation, and I strongly encourage the House to pass it.”

“Thanks to the progressive policies of President Biden and Congressional Democrats, we are currently experiencing record low employment and a strong economy,” said Rep. Omar. “However, many Minnesotans are still struggling with irregular or grueling work schedules, insufficient wages and benefits, and higher costs of living. Every American should have access to a job — a good job with livable wages and decent benefits. That’s why I’m proud to join Rep. Watson Coleman in reintroducing The Workforce Promotion and Access Act to establish a national job guarantee program at the Department of Labor. Our government can and should guarantee good jobs to make sure that no one is left behind in our pursuit of progress.”

“Reps. Watson Coleman and Omar’s Workforce Promotion and Access (WPA) Act would go a long way to create jobs for workers and provide services to neglected communities,” said Rep. Bowman.The WPA Act will lift up all workers to ensure they receive a livable wage and quality benefits, a right every worker deserves. At a time when our country faces the threat of climate change and families can’t put food on the table, this legislation would help put Americans to work on the biggest problems in our country. Income inequality is the worst it’s been since the Gilded Age– now is the time to enact transformative policy to support working families and teach skills that prepare Americans for long-term success.”

“It is fundamentally unfair that Wall Street continues to make huge profits while everyday people often struggle just to make ends meet,” said Susan Harley, managing director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “Congress can begin to address this grave imbalance by passing the Workforce Promotion and Access Act to guarantee that people who need jobs have a path to achieving good pay and decent benefits, all while ensuring Wall Street is paying more of its fair share. This is a solid win-win proposal that would both unrig our tax code and invest in the American public in a very meaningful way.”

“Even when the national unemployment rate is relatively low, there are millions of people who live in urban, rural and suburban areas where there are chronic shortages of living-wage jobs,” said Chuck Bell, vice chair of the National Jobs for All Network. “The WPA Act will enable communities to create high-quality full-time jobs to expand child care and elder care, build affordable housing, and implement clean energy projects.  The bill provides a rigorous framework for testing and evaluating the benefits of public job creation to boost incomes, revitalize local communities and meet unmet human needs.”

The WPA Act is cosponsored by Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16). It is supported by the National Employment Law Project, Public Citizen, People’s Action, and the National Jobs for All Network.

The WPA Act can be read here.