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Senators Consider Universal Job Guarantee and Other Federal Job Programs

These bills could potentially eliminate unemployment in the U.S. for good.

Bernie Sanders, independent U.S. Senator from Vermont and former presidential candidate, will announce his own policy proposal for the federal government to provide a universal job guarantee, addressing issues regarding infrastructure and economic inequalities. According to the Washington Post and The Hill, the federal jobs policy would include a $15 per-hour minimum wage, job training and healthcare benefits American adults who are legally able to work or are seeking employment. The proposed policy further advocates for an increase in public funding for various infrastructure projects across states, localities, and indigenous native Amerindian tribal areas or jurisdictions. This is not the first time a job guarantee has been proposed. In a 1944 radio and film address to the country, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a proponent of full employment efforts during his Second Bill of Rights speech.

Other Democrats, who are considered potential presidential candidates in 2020, are starting to warm up to the idea. On April 17, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted a criticism regarding Republican tax cuts and said that those funds should be used to fund a federal program to enact full employment.

“If Republicans could give $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest among us, why can’t we invest a similar amount in a guaranteed jobs plan for regular Americans who are unemployed and willing to work to better their local community?” Gillibrand posted.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker recently introduced a proposal similar to Senator Sanders’ policy idea called The Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act. This bill would create a three-year pilot program through the federal Department of Labor, in which fifteen local areas with high unemployment, states or municipal localities, would be offered public funding for a job guarantee for any adult seeking work and  includes healthcare, benefits, paid medical and family leave, and a $15 minimum wage.


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