The Super Committee formed by Congress and the administration as a result of last month’s debt ceiling debacle is holding its first public hearing today. The committee’s 12 members were given a chance to state their opening remarks on fiscal policy and deficit reduction, and heard testimony from Congressional Budget Office head Doug Elmendorf. One of the congressmen on the committee, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), stated that his constituents – who face an unemployment rate over the 9.1 percent national average – were less interested in hearing about deficits from Congress and more interested in hearing about job creation.
As the Super Committee dives into their work this month, a handful of congressmen are actually more concerned with putting America’s 14 million unemployed back to work. After all, we have a jobs shortfall of no less than 11 million to fill. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who previously proposed the “Put America to Work Act,” which would provide cities, states, and Native American tribes with $350 billion in grants over the next two fiscal years, yesterday introduced the “Emergency Jobs Act Now.” This bill would require the Super Committee to create at least 3 million jobs over 2012-2013. It provides the committee with a mandate to create jobs in addition to its charge of reducing deficits by $1.5 trillion over 2014-2021.
Though the bill does not offer specifics for job creation, it is important in that it sets a deadline for the Super Committee to vote on proposed emergency jobs legislation. It also strikes the budget caps for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 put in place by the Budget Control Act, (aka the debt ceiling bill) in order to allow for this emergency jobs legislation to make its way past budgetary restrictions. This is an important bill for Congress to consider, particularly as President Obama moves to address the nation on job creation measures tonight.