Economic Benefits of Acting on Critical Legislative Issues

For Immediate Release:

January 14, 2014

While House Republicans claim they want to create jobs and improve our economy, they have ignored critical legislation that would strengthen the economy.  House Democrats remain committed to policies that will address growing income inequality, the economic well-being of American families, and our economy - including renewing unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, and passing comprehensive immigration reform.  Addressing these issues would greatly benefit American families and our economic recovery, according to reports by leading economists and policy analysts.

RENEWING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

On December 28, 2013, 1.3 million Americans lost access to emergency unemployment insurance.  Democrats are committed to restoring this program that expires for an additional 72,000 Americans each week that House Republicans refuse to take action.  Renewing this program would help millions of Americans who are struggling to find a job and put food on the table, and it would also provide economic benefits:

How Extending Certain Unemployment Benefits Would Affect Output and Employment in 2014
“CBO estimates that extending the current EUC program and other related expiring provisions until the end of 2014 would increase inflation-adjusted GDP by 0.2 percent and increase full-time-equivalent employment by 0.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.” [Congressional Budget Office, 12/3/13]

Failure to Extend Emergency Unemployment Benefits Will Hurt Jobless Workers in Every State
“Failure to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program would affect jobless workers in every state. … In all, an estimated 4.9 million workers would lose out on EUC benefits by the end of 2014.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 12/11/13]

Labor Market Will Lose 310,000 Jobs in 2014 if Unemployment Insurance Extensions Expire
“Less understood but equally crucial, the UI benefit extensions boost spending in the economy and thereby create jobs. We find that continuing the extensions through 2014 would generate spending that would support 310,000 jobs. If this program is discontinued, the economy will lose these jobs.” [Economic Policy Institute, 11/7/13]

RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE

The minimum wage has not been raised since 2007, and raising the minimum wage would help American families while also growing our economy:

Proposal to Strengthen Minimum Wage Would Help Low-Wage Workers, With Little Impact on Employment
“The weight of the evidence is …that minimum-wage increases of the magnitude that have been enacted in the past … are a clear net benefit to low-wage workers as a group as well as a policy tool that pushes back against rising inequality.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/7/14]

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide an Economic Boost
“Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 would lift incomes for millions of American workers and provide a modest boost to U.S. GDP. … Across the phase-in period of the increase, GDP would grow by about $22 billion, resulting in the creation of roughly 85,000 net new jobs over that period.” [Economic Policy Institute, 12/19/13]

PASSING COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

A broad majority of Americans support passing comprehensive immigration reform, yet House Republicans refuse to act on the Senate's bipartisan bill or on House Democrats’ bipartisan bill to improve our broken system.  In addition to providing a pathway to citizenship, passing comprehensive immigration reform would boost economic activity and grow our workforce:

Taking Action on Immigration
Studies show that highly educated, foreign-born professionals are net job creators. Low quotas for both H-1B temporary visas and permanent residence green cards are the primary problems for employers seeking to hire high-skilled foreign nationals. Visa shortages and long waits created by the current law lead highly sought-after world talent to either leave America or choose to remain overseas and work for foreign competitors.” [Business Roundtable, 4/5/13]

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy
“The United States continues to lead the world in technology and science innovation; immigrant entrepreneurs play a large role in this competitive thrust. A study by Wadhwa and colleagues found that foreign-born entrepreneurs were founders or co-founders of more than 25% of technology and engineering companies started between 1995 and 2005. In 2005, these technology companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion.” [Chamber of Commerce, 1/2012]

The Economic Impact of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
“Taking account of all economic effects (including those reflected in the cost estimate), the bill would increase real (inflation-adjusted) GDP relative to the amount CBO projects under current law by 3.3 percent in 2023 and by 5.4 percent in 2033, according to CBO’s central estimates.” [Congressional Budget Office, 6/18/13]

Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budget and Housing
“Effective immigration reform can be a powerful instrument of economic revitalization. By increasing the overall population and particularly the number of working-age labor force participants, reform can help expand the economy, contribute to higher overall average wages, generate more consumer spending, and spur new demand for residential housing construction.” [Bipartisan Policy Center, 10/29/13]

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