tv [untitled] CSPAN June 7, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
vigilant and focus in on regions of the country that really need help and assistance. that is what i have been doing, touring some of the state to have been hardest hit, particularly in ohio and michigan and other parts of the country that have very high, unacceptable unemployment rates that are even higher than the figure nationally. >> we will begin with the "los angeles times" >> your home state is one of those states that has been exceptionally hard hit. michigan has 12.9%. what is the administration doing in particular for those states that are hard hit when it comes to the long-term unemployed and the underemployed in those areas? >> in the recovery program that the president signed in february, there were different types of funding made available to the states. many of the stage you outlander benefiting from the extension of unemployment benefits. first of all, that went out and
gave a $25 increase for anyone who is drawn down unemployment insurance. some states have gone as far as to change and modify their laws so they could receive what we call funding under the ui modernization act will now be able to get money to cover part- time workers. in many cases, women and people who have had to move on because the spouse has moved to another location, or they were a victim of domestic violence. this is an additional source of funding, and i would say to you that in two weeks i will be able to announce the money for creation of job training programs that will address cream at collar and renewable energy sectors that we will believe it -- that will address green collar and renewable energy sectors. >> what evidence are you seeing that the stimulus money is having an impact on the unemployment rate in those states and nationwide?
one impact was to allow for a onetime augmentation up $250 for seniors. the fact that you also saw a $25 increase in weekly disposable income. with people taking a band of tax credits and what have you, many of those are seeing returns coming in now in the last three weeks. all that has helped to create more consumer confidence, and people are actually helping the retail industry, which is what i saw and the figures that are reviewed on friday. there was a little increase there. not as much as i would like to see, but certainly there is something happening out there in the community. >> let's get back to the green jobs, since you brought that up.
we talked about this on our conference call. you visited ohio and michigan and you went to a company called last tech. it is making some promising investments in solar energy and manufacturing. it employs maybe a couple of hundred employees. another company at about toledo has been talked about by members of congress. it employs 100 people. how can the small but promising companies absorber the tens of thousands of jobs being lost in the auto industry? >> it will not be a silver bullet, but we are encouraged that there will be funding available through the department of energy to help expand those kinds of manufacturing jobs. the beauty of the plant that i visited, the glass tech company, is they are already installing windshields on foreign and domestic cars. the type of equipment they are using is state of the art and
will help to manufacture solar panels. i was privileged to go and see the plant and see the process that occurs. they would like to be able to sell more of their equipment worldwide. i answered you is that we definitely need to see some investment, more research dollars put in that. i believe members of the cabinet have had their attention drawn to places like that and will be encouraged to help support those kind of activities. >> as they add jobs, they might not be american jobs. >> i am sure there'll be other opportunities in surrounding states and perhaps other parts of the region. that is where my perspective comes in, where i believe that the jobs we create should be helping american workers. in my opinion, i would say i am
going to do everything i can this be sure that we retool and provide educating -- education and training opportunities. there will have an opportunity to get in a health care career or i.t. career or an entirely different area, but to make sure there are capabilities that they will achieve and the hubble to it the education and training. if they have to be mobile, they will get the opportunity and there will be a job at the end of the day. >> getting back to the auto industry, general motors has just filed for bankruptcy. chrysler is in bankruptcy. one area where there is potential large job losses is the cutbacks and the dealerships that chrysler and gm have announced. last week i was in a hearing with a number of senators
really grilling executives from chrysler and gm about the dealership closings. they plan to close about tutsis and dealers, terminate their franchise agreements, -- will they be pushed to ease back on the leadership closings or at least extend the timetable for the dealers to get rid of their inventory? >> it is a very pressing situation. people are losing their jobs, no doubt about it. those kinds of decisions will have to be made between chrysler and the uaw, because they are contractual agreements they reached. i am not privy to those kinds of discussions and that gone on. i would hope that we would be able to help those people that are now being told that their plants, for example the automobile industry, that they will have some advantage or preparation to be able to know how to get into the unemployment insurance areas so they are
covered, but also get into a training program. we did that in a high of -- we did that and ohio recently. that kind of rapid response we have not seen before. it is important to talk about those kind of things. >> when it comes to the dealers in particular, there is a point of contention between the companies and the dealers as to how much money the dealerships actually costs them, and the government is in a position where it has clout with these companies. if dealers are saying we have lots of inventory that the company has forced us to take on that we are not going to be able to get rid of, and will be stuck with these cars, isn't there an obligation for the administration to try and intervene in situations like that and indicate the potential job loss and problems that might take place there? >> i am certain that other cabinet members are more closely involved in those discussions and they are probably looking at that issue. the president has made an effort
to say we want to encourage people to turn in their old car and use that as a down payment to acquire another vehicle. we also want to beef up our ability to bring in more fleets and the above put those orders in as well. that is something that is an incentive as well. i think it is a good start. >> de expect cash for clunkers to pass soon? >> it is something that is interesting to think about. i think it will be an incentive for people. the public is interested, and it is used in other countries. i just met with a foreign labor minister from germany who says they have a similar program for an equal amount of money they are using right now. they sell more efficient, smaller cars. the concept is not really new, but it is certainly something we should possibly look at.
>> on friday the vice president announced plans that the president will outline in greater detail in trying to encourage faster stimulus spending to create more jobs. can you preview what we will hear this week? >> i would just say to you that in my department, in about two weeks we will be issuing our grant solicitation for the green jobs and we have been talking about for the training and planning in preparation that has to take place, which will mean $500 million that will be available for different states and locales to be able to come in the partnership with different organizations, public and private, and hopefully drawdown the money to target the jobs that will last and have meaning for different parts of the country. $250 million will also be issued in health care careers and also i.t.
>> why is it taking so long to get stimulus money out? you mentioned grant solicitation. is there a way to get the money out quicker as this progresses? water some of the complications in getting the money out? >> a lot of it has to do with making sure the appropriate guidance and guidelines are followed and that states are notified. in many ways, it is working out contractual agreements with the different states to make sure they understand what the guidelines are. two weeks ago we issue the guidelines. it does take time, but this is the first time i have seen the amount of money coming out so quickly. it will become not quickly. you have to remember, which assign this recovery act in february, so this is a rapid response -- we just signed this recovery act in february. in terms of what i have seen in the last eight years, this is rapid.
>> i was talking to the mayor of twinsburg and they are grateful for the money for the workers, but she wants to know what about the community? what about the loss of tax revenue? what about the loss of tax producing infrastructure, and the fact that women have to lay off employees as a result? the right recovery act has money that is based on building new infrastructure to create jobs. that is not the problem in twinsburg. they have the infrastructure, but they are losing jobs. what is your response on behalf of the initiation? >> the moneys we provided for that particular plant will help those people get into training programs immediately, but also help to provide what we call wraparound services so they can be eligible for health care,
education and training, and ui benefits. it is something we are starting to do with folks who will be terminated. what we want to try to do is make sure there are other agencies working with us hand in hand and focusing on where the job creation will be. we have the capital. part of the struggle i heard in ohio and michigan is that businesses need to have more capital. some of the movement the administration has made by allowing for more lending to occur through the department of energy and the sba, those incentives -- it takes a while to make sure everything is in place. i believe there will be some relief for people who want to expand into these industries.
>> i am not hearing anything that goes to the immediate needs of twinsburg, ohio. their 1200 employees that will not have jobs. >> it is something we are all very concerned about. in my own state of california, we are also faced with many of our cities having to cut back on a lot of services. part of it is localities and state government have to readjust their budgets. many have spent more than they should have been times when things were good. we have to think differently now with the revenue that we have. i know it will be hard, but this administration is one that is really listening to what is going on. when i went out to visit the communities in ohio, it was clear to me that the workers there -- i could see the
tenacity in their body language that they were concerned, invested, and wanted to keep the manufacturing base here in america. i believe our government and the president is very committed to that, and certainly i am. >> speaking of readjusting budgets, california is trying to undergo a major budget readjustments. there's a huge budget crisis there. the state is in trouble and has asked the federal government for guarantees for short-term borrowing. will the administration do anything for california and for other states? the money funnels down to local governments. there is a lot of jobs at stake. will they help to do anything with short-term cash flow and credit issues in terms of federal assistance?
>> i cannot take your i am directly and intimately involved in those discussions, but i know that there has been reaching out from the governor and the state of california and the treasury in talking to people in the white house. i know that california is a great concern. that economy collapses, it could have profound impacts across the globe. i and others, given the opportunity, will try to do as much as we can with our discretionary money and funds to try and focus on the hard- pressed areas. we have a tremendous foreclosure problem. there has been some leveling off for people -- people are utilizing the incentives that the government has put out. there was encouragement with people purchasing automobiles in the survey that we just saw this past month, but not where it needs to be.
every state in the union is struggling from this economic crisis. >> is california's economy collapsing? >> i would say it is in a dire situation and it does need attention. i believe the state lawmakers have to make some hard decisions. the pain has to be spread out. there are negotiations going on now. the governor has his plan and there is some resistance. part of the problem is that you have such a high standard you have to meet to change anything, to raise taxes and revenue you have to have a two-thirds vote, which is very high and somewhat unrealistic in many cases. >> we have seen banks that are too big to fail get federal assistance. we have seen automakers that are too big to fail get federal assistance. is in california too big to fail? if we are extending aid to these other private entities,
shouldn't the government have a responsibility to make sure that the state the size of california does not run into the type of problems that result in thousands of additional job losses? >> i would agree that we have already begun to address some issues with respect to government, because we did make moneys available in health care for medicaid. i believe we helped postpone some of the layoffs that were occurring in the state because of unemployment insurance. they also received some money to put in so we could administer the program, which expanded tremendously because of what happened in the unemployment crisis here. we also saw money going into our schools. i do not have the exact figure before me, but i know that it helped to keep people at their jobs. >> your predecessor bragg in a speech last year that the department of labor had about
15% less money than a decade ago. she said that proved that you can do more with less. pochette had downsized with 30% fewer employees than 1980. the gao -- the department countered it was working on higher profile cases rather than going after everything because it would have a bigger impact. the bush administration said factory, office, and mine injuries have all gone down, so we must be doing something right. i have a feeling you might not agree with that. are you doing anything to change that focus? >> i would hope so. i know that some of the reports issued by the gao and members of congress have brought to our attention that the department of labour has not kept up pace with respect to investigations that
should be done by osha and by wage and hour. now is the time to make that shift, and we did get additional help to do that in the recovery program. i hope in the following year will be able to do that as well. our goal is to help people find employment, but also provide safety and protection in the workplace. when you go to your job in the morning, you should be able to come on to your family at night. >> there were some last-minute rule making mother wished administration. >> we are making an examination of what they call the midnight rules that were passed by the previous administration. we have suspended some of those and will go out and talk with the difference stakeholders and come back and make whatever necessary changes we deem appropriate. >> anything specific so for the you have done already?
>> right now, we are looking at a rule regarding the h2a basis that deal with the farm workers. the rule that was put in place three days before president barack obama was inaugurated would have lowered wages and put farmworkers in harm's way. that would have had to incur more personal cost. that is not level the playing field for other farm workers in the country and other farm workers that were abiding by the practices. >> how heidi think the unemployment rate is going to go, and what you say it -- how high do you think the unemployment rate is going to go, and what do you say to people who are hearing there are signs the recession is ending, and yet the unemployment rate continues to rise? >> i cannot give you a particular figure as to how high
is going to go. my message to you and to the public is that in hard economic times like this that are unprecedented, we always see the lagging figures for workers -- for dislocated workers to get back into the workforce. that may continue to contract. my hope is that we will start to see at least some other changes like we saw this last month where you are seeing fewer people who are actually getting in the lines of unemployment, and people that are now stabilized in the workplace for the time being until we see more growth. i do not have a quick answer for you except to say that i would hope that the resilience of the american work force is very important. i just see hope in the eyes of people where i saw struggling in cleveland, ohio, and in chicago.
i have been to miami and los angeles, and looking at the future down the line, many young people have a lot of hope. they are working in construction jobs for the first time and have not had all the opportunities that other people have had, but they are now beginning to see there is hope for them that they could get into a career and help provide for their families. it is amazing what the american spirit is like when you go out into the different communities and neighborhoods to see what is really happening on the ground. >> should people expect more pain and more job losses at least through the end of the year or beyond? is it unrealistic to think this is going to turn around relatively quickly, as some of the other indicators are suggesting? >> i would say it is not going to turn around as quick as you and i would like to see. we have been in this situation since december 2007. in communities in los angeles county, we saw an employment
upwards of 90%, and that was 1.5 years ago. we are room to deploy our resources and try to help those people out on the ground. >> the president has talked about trying to do a better job preparing high school students for college. college graduates are having a tough time finding work, something like 20% of this year's college graduates have found jobs so far. should we be doing more to prepare people for the trades, more plumbers, carpenters -- do we need to change our thinking about this? we are putting out a lot of college graduates who are working and restaurants and bars. >> part of what we need to do is
make sure we retool for good jobs that will pay well. i would think that we still need more people in math, science, an engineering people \ / \ / \ /\/ so many other countries are more dense than we are. i would hope we could continue on that path. many who may not be able to get into college could benefit from apprenticeship program. we have the electrical workers union that has partnerships in the community and with the private sector to help train people and turn them around from electricians to those who will now be installing solar panels in a new grid system. there are opportunities for those who do not want to go on to college and maybe do not have
the means to do it but could find other alternative types of training to help them get into good paying jobs. >> was sectors of the economy give you the most hope, and what are you worried about the most? >> this last month we saw an increase of 24,000 jobs and health care arena. given that we are looking at health care reform, i think that fits nicely the notion that we need to expand services and health care as the baby boom generation continues to live longer. we will still have needs, but you still have to have the person standing next to you administering whatever madison our treatment you need. we need to get more people into the health care arena, starting at the bottom and moving up. likewise, retooling the information system. it is people having the ability to have new products that have not reached rural america.
i know something about that, because i was on the energy and commerce committee and worked on the telecom subcommittee. that can empower so many of our citizens in. that is another job growth area. just going back to green jobs, renewable energy, cutting our dependence on foreign oil. those jobs will hopefully stay here in america and be a sustaining crop of new jobs that will help people stay in one class. >> labor secretary killed solis -- hilda solis. thanks for joining us on "newsmakers."
>> what role, does labor have and all this? >> the administration is really it reticent to start extending it to states. they think it will open up a pandora's box. you have seen what happened with bailout money to the private sector, and they are just not interested in delving into that area. there are 50 states out there. most of them have budget troubles, not all of them as bad as california, but they do not want to go down that road. i think you saw that the secretary was hesitant to give any indication they will do anything other than what they have been doing, which is money from the stimulus to help with extended unemployment benefits, transportation projects, and the like. when it comes to helping states borrow money or deal with budget shortfalls, the administration is just saying that is your problem, at this point. >> your line of questioning with the one community in a high of
dealing with job losses and really dealing with budget cuts on a city by city level. >> that are facing a difficult situation. they have relied on tax revenue from the auto plants. all of a sudden they do not have it. how do you continue to maintain schools, our police officers and firefighters? that is awfully difficult. the administration has not really address that specifically. they have addressed the worker concerns, unemployment, trade adjustment assistance, that sort of thing. they made announcements that related specifically to twinsburg, ohio. they added money just to help those workers in twinsburg, ohio. that is great, but in the meantime, we have a tough time here. they have a huge facility
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