·  USW

USW Decries GOP Vote against American Jobs Act and Middle Class Majority

Contacts:  Holly Hart: 202-778-4384, HHart@usw.org       

(Pittsburgh) -- In the 33 days since President Obama proposed the American Jobs Act of 2011 to reduce the nation’s painfully high unemployment, Republicans have attacked the initiative while offering no alternative to create jobs now, a performance they repeated today when they refused to allow the U.S. Senate to even vote on the president’s plan.

By invoking the filibuster, the GOP once again sided with the wealthy and multi-national corporations rather than with the middle class majority, which would benefit from the jobs act.  “It is unconscionable that during this time of economic distress, Republicans would deny millions of Americans job opportunities in order to advance the GOP quest to un-employ one man – President Obama,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “The middle class majority needs help from Congress, not the wealthy few,” he added.

The jobs act would give tax breaks to the middle class and small businesses and create an estimated 1.9 million jobs, reducing unemployment by as much as 1 percent. The $447 billion cost would be offset by a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires. 

Seventy-five percent of Americans support the surtax on millionaires at a time when the average big corporate CEO hauls in $9.6 million a year but the average family of four scrapes by on $50,000. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 75 percent of independents, 57 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Tea Partiers favor higher taxes on millionaires.

Americans have said in poll after poll that their top priority is jobs. “They see Republicans in Congress defending loopholes for Wall Street and the wealthiest Americans while the GOP refuses to even allow a vote on legislation to create jobs and fails to offer any realistic solution,” Gerard said.

In fact, the GOP’s so-called American Jobs Act was a proposal by Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas to eliminate income taxes for corporations – even though they are sitting on $2 trillion in reserves and not creating jobs.  Americans know what the GOP is about, with 70 percent in the Post/ABC poll saying Republicans care more about protecting the rich than the middle class.

“To forestall a rebound recession, Republicans must turn that around and begin to acknowledge the needs of the middle class majority,” Gerard said.

The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private sector union in North America, representing workers in a wide range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, plus office, technical and service workers in health care, security, hotels and municipal governments and agencies.

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