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MN Jobs on the Line: Congress to Vote on American Jobs Act

June 16, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Congress is expected to vote this week on the American Jobs Act. While the economy is slowly showing signs of recovery, advocates in Minnesota call the bill "must-pass legislation" that bridges a critical gap left as a result of state budget shortfalls.

Eliot Seide, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Minnesota Council 5, says if the bill does not pass, the state could stand to lose $591 million and more than 9,000 jobs.

"We need that money in our state if we're going to grow jobs in this state. If we're going to turn the economy around in Minnesota and across the nation, then people need to get to work."

The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (HR 4213) is a wide-ranging package that includes provisions to promote job creation, provide relief for working families, prevent outsourcing of American jobs, maintain health care access, close tax loopholes and ensure corporate accountability.

Given the tough economic times, Seide believes it is more important than ever to protect the jobs that provide public services for working families.

"Families need their libraries; they need their parks for their kids. They need good roads to get to work. They need good schools, so their kids have an opportunity for a better future. Well, we just saw another tuition increase and more cuts to the University of Minnesota. The situation has become intolerable for working families. This bill is an important part of the equation."

President Obama has sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the bill, stating that the country is at a "critical juncture," although opponents say the legislation would add to a federal deficit that is already $13 trillion – and rising.

If the bill fails, the U.S. Department of Labor also estimates nearly 5 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance benefits by year's end.

Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MN