(WASHINGTON) – This afternoon, the Congressional Full Employment Caucus held a panel discussion on the ongoing employment crisis in America, entitled “Bipartisan Solutions to Long-Term Unemployment.” The event - moderated by Arthur Delaney with the Huffington Post - featured esteemed panelists including: Betsey Stevenson, a Member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors; Judy Conti, Federal Advocacy Coordinator with the National Employment Law Project; and Heidi Shierholz, an Economist at the Economic Policy Institute. During the course of the discussion, panelists identified proven bipartisan solutions - that Congress can consider and pass immediately - to combat the ongoing employment crisis in the United States and get Americans back to work.
At the conclusion of the panel discussion, Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) issued the following statement:
John Conyers, Jr.
Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.): “The unemployment rate has declined at an unacceptably slow pace in the half-decade since the financial crisis. More than 3.4 million currently-unemployed people have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, excluding the untold number of individuals who have become discouraged and dropped out of the workforce. I co-founded the Congressional Full Employment Caucus this year so that Congress focuses on the widespread unemployment crisis. Having a job is not only essential for having a home and having healthcare. It is essential for enjoying a life of basic stability and dignity. The discussion today not only shed light on the plight of the long-term unemployed - and the discrimination that they face - but also on the actions Congress can take right away. The greatest danger is that Congress will forget this human tragedy. Today’s panel is the first of several efforts - spearheaded by the new Full Employment Caucus - to restore the focus on jobs and to identify and advocate for lasting solutions to the unemployment crisis.”
Representative Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.): “There’s a simple message I’ve been trying to get across since I arrived in Congress: Unemployment is our true deficit. People are suffering. Five years after the onset of the financial crisis, there are still more than eleven million people actively looking for jobs, more than four million who have been jobless for six months or longer, and seven million who have given up looking for work altogether. Nearly 3 million Americans, including more than 130,000 Floridians, have not received their unemployment insurance benefits since December 2013. Now more than ever, it is important that we support a movement towards full employment by enacting policy that creates jobs and boost wages. The mantra of this Congress must be: Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!”
Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio): “Putting Americans back to work is priority number one. Our unemployment crisis not only hurts those who cannot find work today, but future generations. We must act now. The solution could not be more clear. If we want a strong future, we must invest in our crumbling infrastructure—supporting millions of good jobs modernizing our transportation, energy, and water sectors. We have the tools to do great things for the American people. We need the will to act. I am excited to be leading that charge today.”Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©