Pressley Calls for a Federal Job Guarantee for All Americans
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic Representative Ayanna Pressley is proposing that the federal government guarantee every American a job as millions are still grappling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pressley on Thursday will introduce a resolution in the U.S. House that calls on the government to make having a job a legal right and to create public works programs as a means to bring that about.
“A federal job guarantee would address the current unemployment crisis, make our economy more resilient, begin to close the racial and gender income gaps and lay the foundation for truly a just and equitable economic recovery,” Pressley, who represents a district in eastern Massachusetts, said during a call with reporters.
Millions of Americans remain unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The labor market showed only modest growth in January as nonfarm payrolls increased by just 49,000, according to a Labor Department report released on Feb. 5. The unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, but still remains above pre-pandemic levels.
Pressley’s “sense of the House” resolution wouldn’t create a law requiring such a guarantee or establish a mechanism to do so. It calls for the federal government to create public jobs for adults seeking employment. Programs could include positions involving professional care for children and older people, as well as community infrastructure projects and development of affordable housing.
Pressley emphasized inequities in the labor market recovery and the impact a guaranteed job would have on minority communities. She sees a federal guarantee as a way to help address other systemic inequalities that have kept minorities from full participation in the economy.
“Our ongoing struggle for civil rights demands our collective action to uplift the dignity, humanity and freedom of every member of our society and that begins with a federal job guarantee,” Pressley said.
The Labor Department report showed that 9.2% of African Americans and 8.6% of Hispanics were unemployed in January compared to 5.7% of Whites.
Pressley said she has been urging President Joe Biden’s administration to push forward with bold policy plans and will work to make the federal job guarantee a part of those efforts.
She added that she has not yet spoken with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of House leadership about the resolution, so it’s not clear when or whether it would get a vote.
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