The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Civil Rights Coalition Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Act, Help Homeowners
September 14, 2011 - Posted by Ron Bigler
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is calling on Congress to pass "strong, bipartisan proposals" contained in the American Jobs Act, provide help to struggling homeowners, and preserve recently-enacted consumer financial protections.
In a letter sent to members of Congress today, Wade Henderson, president & CEO of The Leadership Conference, and Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference, highlight elements of the the American Jobs Act that "will help reduce unemployment in the short term, and put our nation on a more solid economic footing in the long term."
The letter calls attention the pronounced impact that the economic crisis has had on minority and low-income communities.
Like all Americans, the communities that we represent hoped that our nation’s economic troubles would be behind us by now. Sadly, there remain few encouraging signs of a recovery. In August, the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanics stood at 16.7 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively – both well above the national average. Young Americans and those without a high school diploma also continue to struggle far more than other groups of Americans.
Given these realities, Henderson and Zirkin stress that Congress must pay for the jobs aid by increasing revenues, not shredding the nation's safety net.
Notwithstanding the pre-election pledges that some Members have made to special interest groups, Congress must face the fact that sensible, targeted revenue increases are an absolutely necessary part of balancing the budget and restoring an economy in which job growth can take place. Cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, on the other hand, will jeopardize the health and economic security of millions of Americans, will keep the economy from getting back on track, and will place an even heavier burden on states that are already struggling to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.
The letter also urges Congress to address the ongoing crisis in the nation's housing market, which economists say is making it tremendously difficult for the economy to recover.
Rampant foreclosures and unemployment go hand in hand, particularly in industries tied into the housing and real estate sector. We are pleased that the Administration recently directed mortgage servicers to extend relief for unemployed homeowners in mortgages under the FHA and HAMP programs, but we fear that the number of families helped will be small. This is partly because such relief is purely at the discretion of the lender. It would help if the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac directed them to provide similar relief. But more importantly, Congress should give deserving homeowners more leverage, through a minor change to bankruptcy law, when mortgage servicers are either unable or unwilling to work with them.
The letter ends by urging members of Congress to reject "out of hand [...] any effort to hamstring the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)," which was created by the financial reform law passed last year to protect consumers from predatory and abusive lending practices like the ones that led to the collapse of the financial industry in 2008.