Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) introduced a bill last week that would create a “job guarantee program” at the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Workforce Promotion and Access Act, sponsored by Omar and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), seeks to get more Americans “back to work in living-wage jobs created directly by the federal government.”
The bill authorizes the U.S. Department of Labor to create a job guarantee program through grants to states, localities, and tribal entities where unemployment is greater than 10 percent or double the national unemployment rate, Omar’s office said in a press release.
The jobs created under the program would pay at least $15 per hour, and come with health coverage and paid family and emergency leave.
“45 million people have lost their jobs during this pandemic,” Omar said in a statement. “We have watched as millions of people struggle to afford basic necessities like food and rent to survive the shock from a sudden job loss. Even before this crisis hit, 4 out of 10 Americans were one paycheck away from poverty. Now more than ever, the federal government has a moral responsibility to alleviate the unnecessary pain and create a federal job guarantee program. This program is the type of bold solution our country needs to lift up workers, broaden prosperity, and improve communities.”
She said the jobs would be available nationwide to any adult over the age of 18, regardless of educational achievement. The program would be funded by a tax on all of Wall Street’s financial transactions.
Susan Harley, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, said the economy is “suffering levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression,” while Wall Street “enjoyed its best quarter in more than 20 years.”
“Now is the time for Congress use this moment to recalibrate our tax code,” she said. “By implementing a Wall Street tax, the Workforce Promotion and Access Act both provides a focus on equity and redistributing tax responsibility while making real progress on the road to relief for families in America by providing a job to those who need it.”
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