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Congressman Tony Cardenas

Representing the 29th District of California

HR 4033 - The American Worker Mobility Act

Seeking to lower the number of long-term unemployed Americans, Rep. Cárdenas joined with a Tea Party Republican, introducing legislation that would provide long-term unemployed Americans with assistance in moving to search for work.

Cárdenas, a member of the House Committee on the Budget, and U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-Rock Hill, SC), a member of the House Committee on Small Business, introduced legislation that will help long-term unemployed Americans move from high unemployment areas to regions of their state, or of the nation, where unemployment is lower and companies are seeking qualified applicants for open jobs.

The American Worker Mobility Act will create a program within the Department of Labor to provide vouchers to the long-term unemployed to relocate for the purpose of attaining or accepting employment.

The bipartisan legislation is also sponsored by Rep. Reid Ribble, a Republican from Wisconsin, along with Rep. Ruben Hinojosa of Texas and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who are both Democrats.

“Too many Americans are still out of work for us to stick with what hasn’t worked,” said Cárdenas. “This unique program will harness the diversity and size of our nation to put more Americans back on the job. There are thousands of Americans who would be happy to move across the country or their state to chase their American Dream, but they cannot afford it. I am very happy to join with Rep. Mulvaney to help make that Dream a reality.”

More than four million Americans have been without work for more than 27 weeks.

“Solely extending unemployment benefits will not help people find jobs,” said Mulvaney.  “It’s time we start working together to address the unemployment crisis and this is one piece of the puzzle.  A non-partisan problem requires a bipartisan solution, and I’m proud to join Rep. Cárdenas in proposing legislation that will help folks find full-time employment.” 

At a hearing of the Budget Committee on Wednesday, Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, told Cárdenas, “Historically, part of what has helped to bring the labor market back to a better place, after previous downturns has been the mobility of people. There’s evidence the mobility of Americans has actually declined over time, which may be an aggravating factor.”

The adjustment provided in the American Worker Mobility Act will help workers in high unemployment areas move to thriving growth areas, delivering a desperately needed group of new workers.

The American Worker Mobility Act was inspired by proposals from across the political spectrum, with the understanding that worker mobility is a critically unappreciated speed bump in our economic recovery.

When asked what solution would most help the long-term unemployed, American Enterprise Institute economist Michael Strain said, “If I had to pick just one, I think relocation vouchers are a good idea… If the government could help out some of these folks to move — just those who want to, certainly not forcing anyone — you can imagine them having an easier time getting a job.”

“If we're serious about taking care of America's workers, and if we're serious about getting unemployed Americans back to work, then we have to make it easier for them to rejoin the workforce,” said Michael Shank, senior fellow at the JustJobs Network. “This legislation by Reps. Cardenas and Mulvaney does exactly that by enabling our workforce to be as agile and mobile as possible and by providing the critical support for relocation if necessary. There is no question that the American Worker Mobility Act of 2014 will be an essential part of how we get America working again."

To continue helping the long-term unemployed while protecting our nation’s future, the American Worker Mobility Act is designed to be deficit-neutral.

Interested in learning more about the American Worker Mobility Act?

Read the full text of the bill as it was filed.
Read a brief section by section summary of the bill.

The Huffington Post published an article regarding the American Worker Mobility Act on the day it was filed in Congress.

Conservative free-maket think tank R Street endorses the American Worker Mobility Act.

Small Business Majority has also endorsed the American Worker Mobility Act.

Here are selected articles on Labor Mobility in the United States:

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/business/economy/for-long-term-jobless-a-stubborn-trend.html
Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/08/this-conservative-economist-cares-more-about-unemployment-than-obama-does/
National Review: https://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/355547/michael-strains-new-jobs-agenda-reihan-salam
WonkBlog: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/11/heres-why-conservatives-should-worry-more-about-long-term-unemployment/
American Enterprise Institute: https://www.aei.org/article/economics/fiscal-policy/labor/why-unemployment-benefits-should-be-extended/
https://www.aei.org/article/economics/a-new-jobs-agenda/
Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-the-republican-jobs-agenda-that-has-been-missing-for-the-past-5-years-2014-1
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/a-republican-senator-has-a-smart-plan-to-help-the-long-term-unemployed-2014-1
National Journal: https://www.nationaljournal.com/washington-inside-out/the-conservative-ideas-that-could-solve-chronic-unemployment-20140129