Ohio Mayors Unite for American Jobs Act
The list of mayors, including Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl who is up for reelection next week, range from all over the state but have the same message for Congressional Republicans.
“As the Mayors of cities and towns across Ohio, we represent thousands of middle class families struggling in this economy,” the letter read. “There’s no doubt the worst recession since the Great Depression has hit our state hard. With Ohio’s unemployment at 9.1 percent, we see firsthand the foreclosed homes, the shuttered businesses and the crumbling infrastructure in our communities.”
The letter advocates to three specific lawmakers: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Ohio Senator Rob Portman. President Obama announced his jobs plan to a joint session of Congress in September, but zero progress has been made.
Republicans in the Senate have thus far blocked every part of Obama’s jobs package, and the mayors are urging them to reconsider their stance.
“The president’s jobs plan is drawn upon ideas that make sense and that parties on both sides of the aisle have supported. This shouldn’t be a Democratic or Republican game,” said the letter. “It’s an American challenge and with this jobs bill, we have an American solution. The targeted investments in transportation, job training, public schools and public safety will foster a robust, long-term financial recovery for our cities and the nation as a whole.”
Organizing for America Press Secretary of Ohio Jessica Kershaw said about the letter, “These mayors in Ohio confirm that no matter if you represent a big city or a small town, the president’s American Jobs Act can provide critical resources that communities across our state desperately need as our economy recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression.”
“It’s unfortunate that Republicans in Congress once again blocked passage of one of the most critical pieces of this bill that would create approximately 13,700 jobs right away in Ohio- rebuilding our roads, bridges and waterways,” she continued.
Current Athens Federal House Rep. Bill Johnson’s office declined to comment on the letter or the charge that Republicans are holding up the bill for political reasons.
The letter talks about specific parts of the bill, and cites the Highway and Modernization
Project as a necessary job creator for Ohio.
“The jobs act includes investments for highway and transit modernization projects in Ohio that could support a minimum of approximately 13,700 local jobs,” the letter said. “For teachers and first responders, the jobs act includes critical funds for cities like ours to avoid and reverse layoffs now, supporting up to 14,200 educators, fire fighters, police officers and others.”
Analysis by Moody’s Analytics, an economic analysis group, said Obama’s plan would add approximately 1.9 million jobs nationwide. The analysis said it would also cut the unemployment rate nationwide by roughly one percentage point.
The new jobs numbers came out for September on Friday, and it showed the national rate tick down to an even nine percent after the economy added 80,000 jobs. Economists had predicted closer to 100,000 for the month.
Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would fund transportation projects nationwide using the federal gas tax, while raising $6 billion to pay down the deficit. The bill was shot down on Thursday by a vote of 53-47.