This legislation is intended to create jobs, while patching a few of the strands in our badly torn safety net during this time of high unemployment.
It would maintain jobs in state agencies, create jobs by extending the TANF Emergency Fund, make sure the National Housing Trust Fund has the money it needs to build and rehabilitate housing units for extremely-low-income households, and give tax incentives to small businesses to hiring new employees. It would also extend unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of recipients who have reached, or are approaching the end of their time limit, and extend the subsidies for COBRA, allowing those on unemployment to continue to purchase health insurance.
The bill passed the House in December 2009 with all of the above provisions. But after months of debate and amendments, the Senate has not been able to pass the bill before leaving for the July 4 recess.
The advocacy community is outraged that the Senate had agreed to a $9.7 billion reduction to SNAP (food stamps) as an offset to the emergency spending in the bill. How could senators suggest denying families facing food insecurity supplemental food, while supporting special interest tax breaks in the bill to attract votes? Some examples of the tax earmarks currently buried in the bill include:
Senators need pressure from their constituents to come to grips with the needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities, and make decisions to promote the common good rather than the welfare of corporate special interests.
H.R. 4213 must be redesigned so that it includes: