Bipartisan Panel of Governors Send Message to House GOP: Move Forward on Jobs, Not Political Divisiveness

Feb 1, 2012 Issues: Labor, Jobs and Job Training

 

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan panel of governors urged members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee today to work together on job creation and put divisive issues aside. The governors agreed that there are ways to help create jobs in their states, including increased investments in infrastructure, and workforce and career training.

“We do need to invest more in our nation’s infrastructure,” said Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI).

Gov. Daniel Malloy (D-CT) agreed. “I’m quite certain if you send additional infrastructure funding to the states, I’m confident we’ll put thousands of construction workers and private contractors back to work,” said Malloy.

When a committee Republican tried to ask Michigan’s Republican governor about whether he would push for a controversial effort to curb workers’ rights in Michigan, the governor pushed back.

“It’s not on my agenda. Right to work is an issue that is a very divisive issue. We have many problems in Michigan that are much more pressing,” said Snyder.

Gov. Snyder later said: “Let’s find areas that we can agree on. If you listen to the testimony here, you hear about infrastructure issues, so many things, and workforce development on showing results. Let’s find common ground solutions on where we agree…”

Today’s hearing comes after a year of political brinksmanship in Washington, despite a clear need to work on building a sustainable recovery that benefits all Americans. Rather than working on jobs, House Republicans instead pursued an agenda that led to the downgrade of the credit rating of the United States for the first time, the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration and ideological attacks on American workers.

“The American people aren’t interested in another year of political infighting and congressional inaction on jobs,” said Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). “But during tough times, we should at least try to work together to develop consensus, not roadblocks. And that’s the case at all levels of government.”

After the Wall Street financial crash, the last Congress worked with the Obama administration to bring the economy back from the brink. The results show the these efforts worked: The private sector has created more than 3 million jobs in the last 22 months, consumer confidence indicates economic growth and manufacturing employment in increasing for the first time since the 1990s.

For instance, despite some calls from some to let the nation’s auto industry fail, which would have resulted in devastating job losses, both governors said that federal efforts saved the industry.

“I’m proud to say that we are the auto capital of the world,” said Snyder. “This was a situation that merited additional involvement and attention…those two companies would have brought down the entire industry. It was important something was done and our industry is viable now.”

Gov. Malloy said that the rescue efforts had an impact on jobs in Connecticut, especially with high-precision manufacturing. He also pointed out that the Recovery Act and other federal efforts helped to keep teachers in the classroom and other important workers on the job.

Economists agree that intervention helped to turn the country around, but more needs to be done.

“The massive market failure of the great recession provides important lessons to policy makers, both regarding the lack of financial oversight that helped to inflate the housing bubble and the stimulus measures, most notably the Recovery Act, that helped to generate the historically large swings from negatives to positives in growth and jobs,” said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Policies. “But more such measures are needed. While the economy is improving and unemployment is slowly coming down, at current growth rates, it will take many years to reach full employment.”

Read the testimony here.