Jobs and the Economy

"Restoring economic growth in a fair and equitable way will be the tide that raises all boats.”

SUMMARY OF STANCE

Even though we now see the lowest unemployment numbers since the Recession of 2008, hardworking American families are still feeling the financial impacts. Income inequalities remain prevalent. Wages continue to stagnate despite increased worker productivity. The middle class has not received the benefits of an economy they have contributed so much to. The wages of low-income workers have been buried beneath a rising cost of living that has made the real value of their pay dwindle until they are below the poverty line. As your Representative in Congress, I support a strong and thriving middle class as well as a strengthening of our nation’s world renowned upward mobility that offers a path into the middle class. I will continue to support common sense pieces of legislation that ensure job growth for all Americans and that keep our country competitive.

RELATED LEGISLATION AND ACTIONS

Introducing legislation is just one action that a member of Congress can take to address a concern or issue that impacts constituents. House Members can also introduce Congressional resolutions calling on the House (or even the full Congress) as a body to recognize or support a certain event or position on an issue. Members can write letters to government leaders requesting they take certain action, hold hearings with expert panels to address issues, work with colleagues at the committee level on specific issues, or even make direct in-person appeals to other Members or officials in the government. Here are a few examples of how I have taken action on this issue.

Raising the Minimum Wage

Climbing the ladder of upward mobility begins for many Americans with a minimum wage jobs. However, what was previously an entry level or first job has now become all to commonly a job for adult Americans with families. At the same time, the actual real world value of minimum wages has stagnated and in fact been surpassed by the cost of living.  That is why I am a proud cosponsor of the “Raise the Wage Act” that would increase the federal minimum wage of employees over a seven-year timespan to $15 and end subminimum wage certificates for individuals with disabilities.

Helping Small Business

Small businesses are the driving force of job creation in this country. This is why one of my first actions in Congress was forming the bipartisan Small Business Caucus. Recently, I joined the new Microbusiness Caucus.

In times of economic and political uncertainty, Congress must find unique and cost-effective ways to support our small businesses. This is why I authored and introduced H.R.4178, the “American Unemployed Worker Investment Act,” which amends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to provide small employers with 10-25 full-time employees a two-year $4,000 per new employee credit for hiring individuals currently receiving unemployment compensation.

By creating private sector incentives for hiring out-of-work Americans, we can reduce the amount we as a nation spend on unemployment benefits – all the while creating jobs and economic opportunities for out-of-work Americans.

I am also a cosponsor of H.R.3191, the “Expanding Opportunities to Underserved Businesses Act.” The bill would increase the maximum level of Small Business Administration (SBA) microloans from $50,000 to $75,000. It would also provide underserved small businesses with small short-term loans for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery, and/or equipment.

American Jobs Act

As a Member of Congress, one of my goals is to promote sustainable job creation with a strong focus on uplifting middle class families. I remain supportive of a pro-jobs and pro-Middle Class agenda, such as former President Barack Obama’s “American Jobs Act.” This piece of legislation sought to give tax cuts to small businesses, funding for more cops, firefighters, schools, and provided for billions for infrastructure improvements. I cosponsored the bill when it was re-introduced as H.R. 2821, the “American Jobs Act of 2013.” 

Investing in our Infrastructure

Roads, bridges, and railways are economic connectors for the private sector and create thousands of high-paying jobs in a diverse range of industries. Smart, long-term investments in our infrastructure will pay off in dividends for generation after generation; therefore, we must increase domestic investment to rebuild our economy from the ground up – starting by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

My “Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act” (H.R.1308) to rebuild our freight infrastructure is a perfect example of the kind of sound legislation we can develop to invest in our nation’s key infrastructures while creating jobs and boosting our economy.

CAUCUSES OR MEMBERSHIPS RELATED TO ISSUE

Ports Caucus
I serve as the Co-Chair of the Ports Caucus which was developed to promote the importance of our nation’s ports with regard to our nation’s economy and the need to secure them by promoting dialogue between Congress, the Administration and relevant federal agencies, as well as important industry officials.

Small Business Caucus
I joined the Congressional Small Business Caucus to help raise awareness of issues that most impact small businesses including access to capital, access to technology, regulation and taxation, and exploring legislative solutions to encourage entrepreneurship and small business growth. The Caucus provides information and education to help Members of Congress arrange job fairs, business roundtables, trade expos and other events in their districts that promote small business growth and encourage job creation.

Microbusiness Caucus

The purpose of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus is to define and elevate the narrative of microbusinesses in Congress and provide a forum for micro business owners to have constructive conversations about obstacles and regulatory barriers preventing entrepreneurs from starting and scaling their business in the United States. The Caucus seeks to empower U.S. microbusinesses in an effort to strengthen competitiveness, foster economic growth, and promote entrepreneurship in America by holding briefings and other events to facilitate discussion on relevant issues.

House Manufacturing Caucus
I am a proud member of the House Manufacturing Caucus which examines and promotes policies to help American manufacturers find trained, educated workers, continue to lead the world in developing new industrial technologies, operate on a level playing field with their foreign competitors, and obtain the capital they need to thrive.

Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Economic Empowerment Task Force
As a member of the CPC, I sit on this task force which focuses on economy, trade, anti-poverty, tax, housing and foreclosures, jobs, and fair pay.

Friends of the Jobs Corp Caucus
Job Corps is an academic remediation and career preparation program for economically disadvantaged youth. Each year, 60,000 high school dropouts, homeless young adults, young parents and students with learning disabilities enroll in Job Corps. It provides these youth with tools to start a career and become financially independent. The Friends of the Job Corps Caucus brings together a bipartisan group of U.S. House members to serve as a unified voice for the thousands of economically disadvantaged youth Job Corps serves annually.

Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus
This caucus is a coalition of Members who are committed to advancing a pro-labor, pro-family legislative agenda and dedicated to protecting and defending workers and their families.  Additionally, the Caucus will provide information and educate Members on issues that impact labor and working families.  The members plan to prioritize fair and decent wages (including Davis-Bacon laws); on-the-job safety; retirement security (including Social Security and pension protection); proper classification of employees and independent contractors; and the protection and promotion of health and other employer-provided benefits.

Blue Collar Caucus
My colleagues and I in this caucus discuss ways to focus legislative efforts, messaging, and organizational outreach on better understanding the pain and anger felt by blue collar voters and addressing wage stagnation, job insecurity, trade, offshoring, and dwindling career opportunities for those in the manufacturing and building trades.

For more information concerning my work and views on jobs and the economy, please contact me.

See also information on resources for small businesses.

More on Jobs and the Economy

February 26, 2015 Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) released the following statement in response to PMA's decision not to conduct vessel work from 5 p.m., February 6, to 8 a.m., February 9:

"I am deeply discouraged by the PMA's decision to stop all vessel work at the 29 West Coast ports over the weekend. There is no question that the congestion at port terminals up and down the West Coast is worsening every day. The damage being done to our local, regional, and national economies is also growing, impacting not only the ILWU and their employers, but workers across the nation large and small.

February 26, 2015 Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal issued the following statement today regarding the White House announcement that Labor Secretary Thomas Perez would travel to California to meet with representatives of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to urge them to resolve their dispute quickly at the bargaining table:

"I am extremely encouraged that the Secretary is going to California to help resolve the West Coast negotiations.


January 5, 2015 Press Release
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing West Coast ports contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Merchant Association (PMA):

"Our local, regional, and national economies—to the tune of more than $1 billion a day—depend on the efficient and timely flow of goods through the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

October 27, 2014 Editorial

No Labels, a national organization dedicated to a new politics of problem solving, has awarded its "Problem Solver Seal of Approval" to California Democrat Alan Lowenthal for his support of the group's year-long effort to create a National Strategic Agenda, a roadmap for the nation based on goals shared and supported by both parties.

October 3, 2014 Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) has introduced legislation aimed at strengthening America's economic competitiveness by providing a dedicated revenue source to invest in our national freight infrastructure.

The Congressman's bill, H.R.5624, Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act, would dedicate roughly $8 billion a year to freight-related infrastructure projects throughout the nation, with a focus on intermodal projects and projects that help relieve the bottlenecks in the freight transportation system.

April 29, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Alan Lowenthal and 29 other members of the California Delegation sent a letter today urging U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to reject the United States Postal Service's (USPS) recent pilot program with Staples office supply chain.

April 8, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Alan Lowenthal today commended Senate bipartisan action on legislation to extend unemployment insurance for nearly three million Americans, and called on the House to follow suit by passing Congressman Dan Kildee's companion bill.  The Senate passed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act by a vote of 59 to 38, which retroactively extends emergency unemployment insurance through the end of May. 

March 5, 2014 Press Release
On March 4, 2014, Congressman Lowenthal released the following statement on President Obama's proposed FY15 budget:

"I am encouraged that the President's budget includes proposals to invest in infrastructure, job training, advanced manufacturing, preschool and other critical areas that will help move America forward. Most importantly, the President lays out a way to pay for these plans by closing tax loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy and well-connected."
December 19, 2013 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Building on their efforts to assist our nation's long-term unemployed, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) was joined by Reps. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) in introducing legislation that would incentivize businesses to hire qualified individuals that have been out of work for 27 weeks of more.  The bill, H.R.

December 16, 2013 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Alan Lowenthal today introduced the "American Unemployed Worker Investment Act," which extends tax incentives to small businesses who hire workers currently receiving unemployment benefits.

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