May 17, 2010 - Volume VII Edition VIII
The job growth in April-- 290,000 total nonfarm jobs were added to the economy-- builds on progress from last month and is the strongest job creation we’ve seen since March 2006. In the past two months, the economy has added more than a half million jobs, with more than 400,000 of those in the private sector.
The April jobs report provides more evidence that the actions taken by Democrats in Congress are working and the economy is recovering. However, the increase in the unemployment rate makes clear that we will need stronger economic growth in the months ahead to regain the 8.4 million jobs lost during the recession and to put all unemployed Americans back to work.
The unemployment increase is due to new entrants and re-entrants to the labor force, a sign of increased optimism about job prospects. The labor force increased by 805,000 in April. Since reaching a low in December, the labor force participation rate has increased in each of the last four months.
While we have made significant progress in the past 15 months, I know Congress must take additional actions to boost employment, including expanding lending to small businesses and strengthening job training for workers-- and that's what I'll be working on in the months ahead.
I've introduced the House version of legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator John Kerry (MA) in February to encourage innovation and economic growth by permitting immigrant entrepreneurs greater access to temporary U.S. visas. The StartUp Visa Act of 2010, H.R. 5193, would permit an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two-year U.S. visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to dedicate a significant sum to the immigrant’s startup venture (a minimum of $250,000). If, after two years, the immigrant entrepreneur can show that he or she has generated at least five full-time jobs in the United States, attracted $1 million in additional investment capitol or achieved $1 million in revenue, then he or she would receive permanent legal resident status.
According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, in 2009 the percentage of U.S. residents creating new domestic companies fell more than half-- from 12.4% in 2005 to 8% in 2009. But over the same period, the percentage of residents in factor- or efficiency-driven economies who are creating new companies rose to 11% from 8.7%. We’re clearly missing an opportunity here.
The entrepreneurial spirit is ingrained in our country’s history and success. This legislation will improve our global competitiveness, ensuring a strong foundation for foreign-born, highly-skilled talent to help create American jobs and promote economic prosperity. That talent pool has always been a crucial factor in our country’s growth, and we must take steps to enable it to continue to do so-- especially in the midst of our current recession. The Kerry bill, co-sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (IN), is S. 3029.
The IRS has announced this week that parents may now make pre-tax payments toward the cost of adding their children under age 26 to their employer-provided health insurance plans.
The health care reform law requires health insurance providers to allow children under the age of 26 to receive coverage under their parents’ health insurance plans, starting in September 2010. Fortunately, many health insurance providers have begun implementing this requirement early – and the IRS announcement will allow parents to take advantage of this new option on a tax-free basis.
Eliminating the gap in health coverage that millions of young Americans experience between graduation and entering the workforce is a big victory-- an even bigger relief for parents. Thanks to the Obama Administration, many students graduating this spring will now be able to remain on their parents’ insurance tax-free. This is a great deal for American families – and is but one of the many vital improvements to our health care system that Americans will see in the months and years to come.
Please see the IRS Release for more information: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=222193,00.html
In late April, we mourned the loss of Dr. Dorothy Height, a true American hero who worked tirelessly throughout her 98 years to make the world better as a leader, activist, and counselor in the civil rights and women’s rights movements. In 2004, I was privileged to support legislation that honored Dr. Height with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow. Dr. Height led a remarkable life and made a significant difference in the lives of so many others.
After earning degrees at New York University, Dr. Height joined the staff of the Harlem YMCA. There she met human rights activists First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and educator Mary McLeod Bethune. Her encounter with Dr. Bethune led to Dr. Height’s involvement with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), an organization she would come to lead as president for four decades. Dr. Height was a tremendous mediator and minister during times of great civil rights strife, such as after the 1935 riots in Harlem and then again in 1963, at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, after a bomb killed four African American girls in a church.
Known to many as the queen of the civil rights movement, Dr. Height was often the only woman at key moments in civil rights history and we are indebted to her for keeping women’s rights and equality in the fore. During her tenure with NCNW, Dr. Height instituted programs to establish dialogue between interracial groups of women, to expand business ownership by women, to celebrate women’s history at the Bethune Museum and Archives, and to monitor human rights around the world.
As President Obama said in his eulogy to Dr Height at her funeral in Washington, "I sometimes think Dr. King must have had Dorothy Height in mind when he gave that [Drum Major] speech. For Dorothy Height met the test. Dorothy Height embodied that instinct. Dorothy Height was a drum major for justice. A drum major for equality. A drum major for freedom. A drum major for service. And the lesson she would want us to leave with today -- a lesson she lived out each and every day -- is that we can all be first in service. We can all be drum majors for a righteous cause. So let us live out that lesson. Let us honor her life by changing this country for the better as long as we are blessed to live. May God bless Dr. Dorothy Height and the union that she made more perfect."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is eliminating the M27 bus which links Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal to First Avenue via 49th and 50th Streets; eliminating night and weekend service on the M50 which runs from the Hudson River to 1st Avenue via 49th and 50th Streets; and eliminating crosstown service on the M104, which runs from Broadway to the United Nations along 42nd Street.
In October 2010, the MTA and New York City Department of Transportation will be implementing "Select Bus Service" on the M15, which runs from 125th Street to South Ferry on 1st and 2nd Avenues. The 8.5 mile route will feature colored bus lanes, bulbouts at certain locations and new 3 door, low floor buses. Passengers will pay their fares before they board the buses to reduce dwell time at the bus stops.
I've sent a protest letter to MTA Chair Jay H. Walder, objecting to these cuts in crosstown bus service and pointing out that the Select service, when implemented on the M15 route along 1st and 2nd Avenues, will eliminate the existing limited bus stop at 50th Street and will leave this area with even fewer transportation options.
These cuts amount to a double whammy for residents of Turtle Bay, and add to the perception that the neighborhood is being singled out and isolated. The MTA is proposing to virtually eliminate crosstown bus service for the neighborhood and to have the new Select Bus Service skip the 50th Street stop. These moves will be a harsh blow for the neighborhood. I'll keep you posted on the MTA's response.
The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act has passed the House with my strong support. It will provide $324 million to help state and local governments provide financing for consumers to make home improvements--helping create up to 168,000 new jobs in industries that have been hit hard by the recession: construction, manufacturing, and retail.
It's a win-win-win: jobs will be created, consumers will save money, all while reducing our nation’s energy consumption.
The bill establishes the Silver Star program which provides up-front rebates of up to $3,000 toward the purchase of energy-efficient renovations, including new home insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing and water heaters. The bill also creates the Gold Star program, which would provide rebates of up to $8,000 for consumers who would conduct comprehensive energy audits of their homes and implement measures to reduce energy use.
My official website, http://maloney.house.gov, has again won a "Gold Mouse" award from the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF)-- one of only 21 House sites to do so. What's more, the official Joint Economic Committee site, which my staff has redesigned, won a Silver Mouse.
The CMF is a non-profit, non-partisan management consulting and research organization. CMF analyzed the congressional websites of all House and Senate members, congressional committees (both majority and minority), and congressional leaders. Web sites were graded on how well they incorporate five core principles that CMF identified through extensive research as critical for effectiveness: know your audience, provide timely and targeted content that meets their needs, make the site easy to use, foster interaction both on and offline, and add value through innovation.
My goal has always been to make my office and committee websites as informative and useful as possible, to make sure that information about the work of Congress is just a few clicks away, and I’m thrilled that the CMF has recoginized those efforts as successful. It's the third time my site has won the Gold Mouse-- it also took the award in 2006 and 2007 (CMF did not give out awards in 2008 and 2009).
I'll continue doing my very best to keep the public as up-to-date as possible. I believe in the web's power to bring transaprency in government to anyone with a web browser.
The 111th Congress Gold Mouse Awards are part of CMF’s Partnership For A More Perfect Union, which seeks to improve the quality of communication between Members and their constituents. For this project, CMF partnered with researchers from the Harvard Kennedy School, Northeastern University, University of California–Riverside, and the Ohio State University to study how Members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress
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