Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today called on House and Senate leadership promptly to take up HR 4812, the Local Jobs for America Act, which would provide approximately $23 billion to retain teachers nationwide and fund new public school teaching positions at all education levels. The bill would also provide approximately $1.7 billion to local governments to continue funding emergency response positions that would otherwise be cut, including police and firefighter jobs that have been threatened by the economic downturn.
“This bill is an excellent way for states, cities and communities around the country to keep good jobs and create new ones, and can be passed in short order before these positions are eliminated,” Grijalva said. “Letting this bill languish now would seriously damage educational and emergency response infrastructure at a time when few options exist for local financing of these positions.”
The bill makes a strong and timely investment in states, local governments and community-based organizations, including $23 billion for an Education Job Fund similar to one proposed by Rep. George Miller’s Local Jobs for America Act and Sen. Tom Harkin’s Keep Our Educators Working Act. The funds would be used for awards to local education agencies and public institutions of higher education for the support of elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.
The bill requires states and communities immediately to disburse the education funds to eligible recipients to maximize economic and social benefit, rather than putting the money in a general account or rainy day fund.
The $1.7 billion for first responders will go to state and local governments for the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers, firefighters and eligible homeland security personnel. That money would have to be disbursed by the end of the calendar year.
“Talking about jobs isn’t enough in this economy – Congress needs to follow through as soon as possible,” Grijalva said. “This bill is a crucial step in lessening both the economic and social impacts of the recession, and I hope leadership acts on it without delay.”