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Blog Category: Jobs

Acting Secretary Blank Delivers Keynote Address at League of Wisconsin Municipalities Conference, Discusses American Jobs Act

Touring: Palermo President & Ceo Fallucca, Blank and Mayor Barrett

Blank also toured Palermo’s Pizza with Mayor Barrett and met with local business leaders as part of White House Business Council outreach effort

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Milwaukee today to deliver the keynote address at the 113th League of Wisconsin Municipalities Annual Conference to discuss the American Jobs Act–how it will spur economic growth, accelerate job creation and benefit Wisconsin.  The League is a nonprofit and nonpartisan association of cities and villages that serves as an information clearinghouse, advocacy organization and legal resource for Wisconsin municipalities; it is comprised of 190 cities and 392 villages.

At the Conference, Blank discussed details of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  Blank highlighted the different ways the plan would make an immediate impact on job creation: cutting taxes for small businesses, putting more money in the pockets of consumers through an expanded payroll tax cut, and preventing the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, while putting construction workers to work through much-needed renovations to school, roads, rail and airports renovations. Blank underlined the need for Congress to act quickly on the bipartisan measures in the Jobs Act.

“Outside experts say the American Jobs Act would put nearly two million people to work, while putting more money in the pockets of workers and repairing infrastructure vital to enhancing America’s competitiveness,” Blank said. “It’s time for Democrats and Republicans in Congress to come together and swiftly pass the measures in the Jobs Act, which will put people back to work right away and put more money in the pockets of American families.”

Earlier in the day, Blank joined Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on a tour at Palermo’s Pizza, a rapidly growing regional company that added almost 100 jobs last year and is leading the “Earn to Learn” program with the Mayor’s Office, which gives high school-aged youth a chance to develop marketable skills through direct work experience and training seminars. 

The American Jobs Act: Preventing Teacher Layoffs and Keeping First Responders on the Job

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, North Carolina, Oct. 17, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning’s USA Today noted that budget cuts claim hundreds of thousands of county and city jobs due to shortfalls in local sales and property taxes. Each of these layoffs hurts the local community. Those laid off don’t spend at local businesses and they don’t purchase local services. That’s the crux of Ezra Klein’s case for rehiring public workers and why the President has put forth his American Jobs Act, to provide communities with some support while the economy gains speed.

Today President Obama is traveling to North Carolina and Virginia talking about his plan to put Americans back to work and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job. He urged Congress to pass his proposal to provide funding to prevent teacher layoffs and keep police officers and firefighters on the job. The American Jobs Act includes $30 billion in teacher stabilization funds which will support state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire educators as well as $5 billion for first responders.

In the afternoon, the President will travel to Greensville County High School in Emporia, Virginia. Virginia would receive more than $740 million of the $30 billion included in the American Jobs Act to prevent teacher layoffs, which would support 10,800 jobs across the Commonwealth. Greensville County Public Schools would receive an estimated $1.6 million of this funding for teacher jobs. Greensville County High School has lost six teachers over the last three years due to budget cuts and is at risk of losing additional teachers next year.

See how your state would benefit under the American Jobs Act.

Commerce and Transportation Departments Forge Partnership to Boost Domestic Manufacturing Across America

NIST logo

Partnership will help revitalize the domestic railway manufacturing sector, support Obama Administration’s historic investments in transportation and create jobs

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a partnership to encourage the creation of domestic manufacturing jobs and opportunities for U.S. suppliers through transportation investments. 

The Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will help to ensure manufacturers meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) strict “Buy America” and “Buy American” standards, connecting U.S. manufacturers and suppliers for work on highways, railways and transit projects, and in the process help to create jobs.

“Investment in transportation is a critical piece of President Obama’s American Jobs Act,” said Secretary LaHood.  “Not only are we improving how we move people and goods, but we are strengthening our economy by providing opportunities for American companies and their employees to build our transportation system here at home.”

With a network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP serves more than 34,000 American suppliers, helping them to retool their manufacturing capabilities to meet demand, compete in the global marketplace and sell American-made products all over the world. 

“This initiative is a win for workers and communities across America,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “The Manufacturing Extension Partnership will connect U.S. manufacturers and suppliers with hundreds of millions of dollars in upcoming highway, railway, and airport projects, providing new job opportunities in every corner of the country.”

MEP will leverage over 1,300 expert manufacturing assistance field staff in over 350 locations to provide knowledge of local manufacturing capabilities from across the nation. MEP will identify suppliers’ production and technical capabilities to match them up with viable business opportunities that may have otherwise gone to foreign suppliers, ensuring maximum economic benefit for taxpayer-funded transportation investments across all modes.

Acting Secretary Blank Highlights the Obama Administration's Pro-Business Record

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Delivering the Keynote Address at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Annual Meeting

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today delivered the keynote address at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Annual Meeting, where she highlighted the different ways the American Jobs Act would make an immediate impact on job creation: cutting taxes for small businesses, putting more money in the pockets of consumers through an expanded payroll tax cut, and preventing the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, while putting construction workers to work through much-needed renovations to school, roads, rail and airports renovations.

Blank also discussed the Obama administration’s record supporting business expansion, highlighting the 17 different small business tax cuts implemented by the administration, major reform of the patent system that will bring the ideas of innovators to market faster, and investments in education and infrastructure that will help businesses thrive.

The American Jobs Act would:

  • Slash the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses, benefitting 410,000 Florida companies;
  • Allow localities to avoid laying off teachers, firefighters and cops – 25,900 in Florida alone;
  • Modernize at least 35,000 public schools, supporting renovations across the country and as many as 16,600 jobs in Florida;
  • Put the long-term unemployed – a group that totals 498,000 in Florida – back to work by making the most innovative reforms to unemployment insurance in 40 years;
  • Extend unemployment insurance, preventing 5 million Americans, including 148,500 in Florida, from losing their benefits; and,
  • Cut payroll taxes in half for 160 million workers next year, giving the typical Florida family a $1,730 tax cut.

Remarks

The American Jobs Act: Full of Bipartisan Ideas

View of Joint Session from birds-eye view (White House photo)

The American people understand that the economic crisis and the deep recession weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. The economic security of the middle class has been under attack for decades. That’s why President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis—we need to rebuild the economy the American way, together, based on balance, fairness, and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle should lend their bipartisan support for the American Jobs Act—because it is full of bipartisan ideas.   White House fact sheet and overview

Acting Secretary Blank Visits University of Toledo to Highlight the American Jobs Act

Blank and Dean of College of Business and Innovation Thomas G. Gutteridge

Blank also meets with local business leaders as part of White House Business Council outreach effort

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today toured the University of Toledo Clean and Alternative Energy Business Incubator, a program that supports collaboration between clean energy companies and the university in order to help grow the clean and alternative energy industry in the region.  Since its opening in 2005, the incubator has had a regional economic impact of more than $700 million.   

At the University of Toledo, Blank discussed details of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  Blank highlighted the different ways the plan could make an immediate impact on job creation: cutting taxes for small businesses, putting more money in the pockets of consumers through an expanded payroll tax cut, and preventing the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, while putting construction workers to work through much-needed renovations to school, roads, railways and airports. Blank underlined the need for Congress to act quickly on the bipartisan measures in the Jobs Act.

The American Jobs Act: Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family

President Obama urges passage of American Jobs Act (White House news conference photo)

President Barack Obama continues to urge Congress to approve the American Jobs Act, introduced in September, which contains a focus on tax relief for American workers and their families.

The president's plan envisions putting more money in the pockets of every American worker and family:

  • Cutting Payroll Taxes in Half for 160 Million Workers Next Year: The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last December by cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. This provision will provide a tax cut of $1,500 to the typical family earning $50,000 a year. As with the payroll tax cut passed in December 2010, the American Jobs Act will specify that Social Security will still receive every dollar it would have gotten otherwise, through a transfer from the General Fund into the Social Security Trust Fund.
  • Helping More Americans Refinance Mortgages at Today’s Historically Low Interest Rates: The President has instructed his economic team to work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their regulator the FHFA, major lenders and industry leaders to remove the barriers that exist in the current refinancing program (HARP) to help more borrowers benefit from today’s historically low interest rates. This has the potential to not only help these borrowers, but their communities and the American taxpayer, by keeping borrowers in their homes and reducing risk to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.   White House news conference video   |   American Jobs Act Fact Sheet

The American Jobs Act: Tax Cuts to Help America’s Businesses Hire and Grow

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The American Jobs Act Cover

President Obama held a press conference today to continue his fight for Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. He explained what needs to happen to boost economic growth in the United States. One of the key proposals are tax cuts for small businesses. The president’s plan includes new tax cuts to businesses that provide immediate incentives for firms to hire and invest. These tax cuts would be available to all businesses, regardless of size, but are designed to target their impact towards the smallest businesses.

Key elements of his proposal are:

  • A payroll tax cut to businesses, with a focus on small employers ($65 billion in combination with the payroll tax holiday for new wages)
  • A complete payroll tax holiday for new jobs or wage increases
  • Extend 100 percent business expensing through 2012 ($5 billion)
  • Help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital and grow

A payroll tax cut to businesses, with a focus on small employers ($65 billion in combination with the payroll tax holiday for new wages)

The president’s plan will extend the payroll tax cut to firms by cutting in half their payroll tax on the first $5 million in payroll. Next year, instead of paying 6.2 percent on their payroll expenses, firms would pay only 3.1 percent. The president’s plan would provide tax cuts for all firms, with focused relief on the 98 percent with less than $5 million in payroll.

How It Would Work for a Typical Firm: A construction firm with 50 workers earning an average of $50,000 a year–for a total payroll of $2.5 million–would receive a payroll tax cut of 3.1 percent of its total payroll, or about $80,000. The firm’s workers would receive an average tax cut of about $1,500 a year from the employee side payroll tax cut in the president’s plan.

The American Jobs Act: Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs

American Jobs Act logo

President Obama continues to call upon Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. He has explained how his proposals will benefit the unemployed and put money back in Americans' pockets. One proposal includes Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs. This section of the president’s plan would help out-of-work Americans and their families by extending unemployment insurance to prevent six million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, while at the same time reforming the system to help support programs that build real skills, connect to real jobs, and help the long-term unemployed. The president’s plan is targeted to address long-term unemployment in an aggressive, multi-pronged way, drawing from ideas about what is working from around the country and from both parties. 

Key elements of his proposal are:

  • The most innovative reform to the unemployment insurance program in 40 years: As part of an extension of unemployment insurance to prevent five million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the president’s plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use Unemployment Insurance (UI) funds to best support job-seekers and connect them to work.
  • A $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers.
  • Prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.
  • Expanding job opportunities for low-income youth and adults by investing in promising and proven strategies and programs like summer jobs and sector-based training programs.

White House fact sheet

So What's in the Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea?

Yesterday, President Obama sent three trade agreements to Congress for approval. While each of the trade agreements were negotiated differently, they all share one common goal - to increase opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers, and workers through improved access for their products and services in foreign markets. Each supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

All Trade Promotion Agreements have one thing in common. They reduce barriers to U.S. exports, and protect U.S. interests and enhance the rule of law in the partner country. The reduction of trade barriers and the creation of a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment make it easier and cheaper for U.S. companies to export their products and services to trading partner markets.This results in jobs here in America.

The most common question about these agreements is, "What exactly is in them?" Below the fold are some of the key specifics for each agreement.