Friday, March 26, 2010

Sen. Klobuchar’s response to the current employment situation.

This is a response I received today from Sen. Klobuchar to my plan of getting America back on its feet.


Dear Mr. Lund:


Thank you for taking the time to contact me about our current employment situation.  I appreciate your thoughts, stories, and concerns.


The weak economy and continued high unemployment rate are among the most challenging problems facing our country.  Across the state, Minnesotans continue to make a great effort to pay their mortgages and provide for their families. While we have seen signs of some economic improvements, there are too many people who have lost their jobs in Minnesota and across the country. 


For these reasons I have supported extending benefits to help out-of-work Americans endure the current economic crisis.  Recently, I supported H.R. 4213, the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010, which extends emergency unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance subsidies through December 31, 2010 for those who have lost their jobs. On March 10, 2010 this legislation passed in the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 62 to 36.  Additionally, I supported the Temporary Extension Act of 2010, the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, all of which provided temporary support and helped put Americans back to work during these tough economic times.  As long as the dynamics of our economy necessitate extensions, I will continue to support them for the suffering Minnesotans that need interim relief. 


Providing for out-of-work Americans, however, is just the first step.  Every day I hear from Minnesotans who are urgently seeking work and can't find it.  I also hear from businesses large and small that want to hire, but can't in this struggling economy.  That is why I supported the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which recently passed in the Senate with a 70 to 28 vote.  This legislation provides tax breaks and credits to small businesses for hiring and retaining unemployed workers, and making purchases of needed equipment. This legislation is paid for by increasing foreign tax compliance and eliminating the abuse of tax credits by closing offshore loopholes. 


Someone once said of our current economy, that while Wall Street got a cold, Main Street got pneumonia.  That's why I also support initiatives that help small and mid-sized businesses overcome the current tight credit constraints.  Last fall I advocated for a targeted lending program to increase the available credit to small and mid-sized businesses, and I continue to work on proposals to encourage lending to responsible and promising businesses and entrepreneurs.  The Small Business Association has more than doubled the amount of available loans to businesses, and while I recognize that this is a start, I believe there is more that can be done.  Providing the needed additional credit will help small businesses hire new employees, purchase needed equipment, invest in research and development, and expand their facilities.


American businesses can't grow if the demand for their products stays constant. We also need to increase the demand for American products through export promotion.  There's a lot of potential in harnessing the customers abroad; 95 percent of the world's customers are located outside the United States.  That is why I introduced S. 3084, the Export Promotion Act of 2010, which provides businesses with direct assistance and increases available resources for representation and counseling on starting export operations.  The Department of Commerce found that every dollar spent on export promotion resulted in $213 of export revenue for our businesses. 


As we continue to work on legislation that will help restore our economy's ailing health and provide needed relief to millions of Americans, we should put aside partisan differences to do the necessary and critical work to ensure our long-term economic stability.  I will continue to take action to help middle-class families and build a stronger, more prosperous America while being fiscally responsible. 


Again, thank you for writing to me about this issue.  One of the most important parts of my job is listening to what the people of Minnesota have to say to me.  I am here in our nation's capital to do the public's business and to serve the people of our state.  With that in mind, I hope you will contact me again about matters of concern to you.



Amy Klobuchar

United States Senator