Americans need economic relief now. Every day, every hour, and every minute that change is delayed Americans suffer. During the 111th legislative session, Congress has a duty to guarantee practical and effective economic relief. As a member of the 111th Congress, I relish that duty and will work tirelessly to see change for the better.
A successful relief package comes through getting more money into the hands of those who need it the most--the average American. The economic recovery package is my top priority. Tax rebates for the wealthy and big business just will not work. Instead, the program should focus on giving workers the skills they need to compete in the job market, creating jobs, and revising the tax system to be fair.
We must provide training for our neighbors. Every person has the ability to learn a trade that will both aid the community and allow them to earn a living. You can teach a man to fish, but if he's land locked then what good is the lesson? We must bring a part of the ocean to the 11th District by encouraging job growth in shrinking industries and creating new jobs. The best way to do this is through beneficial community improvements that create sustainable job opportunities.
Within our community there are a number of initiatives that, in and of themselves, will create sustainable jobs. We need to expand our base of educators and improve the condition and number of our children's schools. Also, we can complete our plans for a new convention center, and enhance our medical facilities. Further, the 11th District can be the leader in the environmental sector by placing itself at the forefront of renewable energy, green building methods, and clean manufacturing.
We must be aggressive about re-opening the Inner Belt Bridge and create the Opportunity Corridor Parkway. The US Department of Transportation concludes that every one billion dollars of federal highway investment, creates 47,500 jobs.
All of these community improvements will make the 11th District a better home for us all and create much needed jobs.
We must provide hope for homeowners. A greater emphasis must be placed on keeping families in their homes. Families facing foreclosure need direct assistance and modified plans that meet their needs. Our efforts are not for the banks or the lenders, but for the parents who just bought their dream house so that their child could have a yard. Our efforts are for the retirees who have decided to make the 11th District their permanent residence in their golden years. Our efforts are for the fathers and mothers who refinanced their home in order to pay for their child's college education. We must do all that we can to ensure that financial assistance goes directly to the people of the 11th District who has the most to lose.
We will not allow the door to the American dream to slam shut. We must ensure that lenders are still offering affordable mortgage rates for qualified home buyers. By using money to free up these credit markets future homebuyers are positioned to realize the dream of homeownership.
Relief can also come through improvements to our tax system. Through expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) we can provide targeted relief for our lowest paid workers. The great majority of these people are our hardest working citizens who pay a disproportionate amount of taxes. Many are heads of households, with children, who would immediately be bettered by the EITC expansion. The benefits are phenomenal. Statistics show in just one year alone, over five million families were lifted above the federal poverty line by allowing them to keep just a little more of their paycheck. The daily impact is tremendous as it means more gas to get to work, a full helping of food for the children and a heated home during the winter. This can all be done by allowing them to keep more of their income.
I am honored to be a member of the 111th Congress. We have been granted an opportunity to provide economic relief for all Americans. It is our civic and moral duty to create sustainable employment for the hardworking Americans we serve, provide targeted economic relief for our neighbors, and continue access to home ownership. Together, we can provide the economic relief that America most urgently needs.