White House Talks to Us about the Jobs Act

By Sandra VanderVen There’s a lot going wrong in politics today, no one would dispute. The good news is that in some cases, the challenges we face are being met with creativity and verve. One instance is the way the White House is engaging states to help pass the proposed Jobs Act.

It doesn’t make sense at first glance—isn’t it Congress’ job to pass this?  What do the states have to do with it? Experience tells us it won’t work to just sit back and wait for Congress to act on the will of the people. If we don’t pressure them to pass it, they’ll end up listening again to the corporate lobbyists who got us here in the first place.

Let’s make sure we know what we’re fighting for. Here are some tidbits from this fact sheet.

  • Washington state will receive $365,100,000 in funding to support as many as 4,700 school improvement jobs.
  • This act will provide $627,800,000 in funds to Washington to support up to 8,500 educator and first responder jobs.
  • The President’s plan will make immediate investments of at least $741,100,000 in Washington that could support a minimum of approximately 9,600 local construction jobs, while improving infrastructure.

Brad Jenkins, the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, realizes this.  “The only way that we see the president able to push Congress to get this passed is through your work, educating communities on things that matter, and mobilizing.” It is up to groups like Working Washington and MoveOn.org and many other organizations to let people know what the jobs bill will do for us, and then it is up to us to join together to push our members of congress to pass it.

There are things we can do that will make a big difference.  We can influence the public, the media, and our elected officials if we lift our voices.  Consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Email or call members of congress. Turn out to show strength in numbers when you hear of a MoveOn or Working Washington event. Talk to your neighbors.

The work we did during the August congressional recess-- calling out Members of Congress at town halls or even when they refused to appear in public--was heard loud and clear in the other Washington (DC).

The truth is that many Members of Congress are going to vote up or down only if their biggest donors will permit them to. It is up to us to make sure they add one more factor to their calculations: the anger of their constituents.