SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Yesterday, in Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley, Calif.) continued his commitment to ending long-term unemployment in the United States, by reintroducing legislation that would allow American workers to go where the jobs are.
Cárdenas, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the “American Worker Mobility Act,” which will allow long-term unemployed Americans to move from high unemployment areas to regions of their state, or of the nation, where unemployment is lower and companies are seeking qualified applicants for open jobs.
The Act will create a program within the Department of Labor to provide vouchers to the long-term unemployed to relocate for the purpose of attaining or accepting employment.
Cárdenas first introduced the law in 2013 with two Republican co-sponsors, showing the bipartisan spirit that he has become known for in the House.
“For several years now, we have seen Americans going back to work by the hundreds of thousands,” said Cárdenas. “However, it’s not enough. To really get our economy moving again, every American who wants a job needs to get hired. We can’t do that without putting more Americans where the jobs actually are. For people who are willing to make the sacrifices that come with moving for a new job, we will make sure they can do just that.”
At a hearing of the Budget Committee in the 113th Congress, Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, told Cárdenas, “Historically, part of what has helped to bring the labor market back to a better place, after previous downturns has been the mobility of people. There’s evidence the mobility of Americans has actually declined over time, which may be an aggravating factor.”
The adjustment provided in the American Worker Mobility Act will help workers in high unemployment areas move to thriving growth areas, delivering a desperately needed group of new workers.
The American Worker Mobility Act was inspired by proposals from across the political spectrum, with the understanding that worker mobility is a critically unappreciated speed bump in our economic recovery.
At an event promoting the Worker Mobility Act last year, American Enterprise Institute economist Michael Strain said, “I think relocation vouchers are a good idea… If the government could help out some of these folks to move — just those who want to, certainly not forcing anyone — you can imagine them having an easier time getting a job.”
“If we’re serious about taking care of America’s workers, and if we’re serious about getting unemployed Americans back to work, then we have to make it easier for them to rejoin the workforce,” said Michael Shank, senior fellow at the JustJobs Network and adjunct faculty at George Mason University. “This legislation does exactly that by enabling our workforce to be as agile and mobile as possible and by providing the critical support for relocation if necessary. There is no question that the American Worker Mobility Act will be an essential part of how we get America working again.”
The R Street Institute also applauded the legislation, “Almost 1/3 of America’s unemployed have been without work for more than 27 weeks, and it was recently reported that 62% of Americans don’t possess even $1,000 for unexpected expenses, let alone the cash on hand necessary to move for better opportunities. Rep. Cardenas is correct that it’s time to end one-size-fits-all unemployment assistance and instead provide Americans with the choice to pursue opportunity for themselves and their families wherever that leads.”
To continue helping the long-term unemployed while protecting our nation’s future, the American Worker Mobility Act is designed to be deficit-neutral.
News item provided by Office of Congressman Tony Cárdenas, California’s 29th Congressional District – https://cardenas.house.gov/