With national unemployment hovering above 9 percent, a leading House Democrat is pushing to establish a "supercommittee" for creating jobs.
Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, wants to amend the recently passed debt-limit package to establish a joint select committee on job creation to operate alongside the already mandated Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
In a "Dear Colleague" letter sent to House members earlier in the week, Larson argued that the nation's jobs crisis is only exacerbating its long-term fiscal problems and therefore demands Congress's immediate attention.
"This high unemployment poses a very real short-term fiscal crisis, because it drains the federal coffers through increased government spending and reduced tax revenues," Larson wrote in the Aug. 8 letter.
"Families are being forced out of their homes, children are being forced to forgo higher education, the elderly are being forced to retire early without nearly enough saved to cover their long-term costs," he said. "If not addressed, I believe the social costs of unemployment will dramatically damage the United States’ status in the world and prevent us from emerging from this recession."
Larson's jobs committee would be set up in identical fashion to the emerging deficit panel, but instead of coming up with a strategy for deficit-reduction, the panel would design a plan to provide every American with a job within a decade.
"This would allow the Congress to simultaneously consider both our near-term (high unemployment) and our long-term (growing debt) challenges later this year," Larson wrote. "Just like the Deficit Committee, all options would be on the table. We owe the American people nothing less."
Larson's push arrives as congressional leaders have already appointed nine of the 12 members who will sit on the deficit-reduction supercommittee. The lawmakers are tasked with finding at least $1.5 trillion in government savings over the next decade.
The Connecticut Democrat is planning to introduce his jobs amendment when Congress returns to Washington next month.
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