WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /USNewswire/ -- Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee is on record supporting the economic stimulus bill, estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers some $1.2 trillion. The bill is expected to pass the Senate this week. Sen. Inouye has been a key figure in crafting the version that is expected to hit the Senate floor.
The Senate legislation, which supporters claim will create 3 million new jobs in the U.S., contains no protections to ensure that those jobs will be filled by U.S. workers. The bill, supported by Sen. Inouye, does not include key protections contained in the stimulus bill approved by the House last month. Absent from the bill the Senate will vote on are:
- Reauthorization of the E-Verify program. E-Verify allows employers to verify electronically workers' Social Security numbers to ensure that they are legal U.S. residents. The program will expire on March 6 if it is not reauthorized.
- A requirement that all companies benefiting from taxpayer-funded projects use E-Verify to ensure that the jobs created are not filled by illegal aliens.
"Like the rest of the nation, workers in Hawaii are being hit hard by the rising unemployment," noted Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "Based on the latest data, some 36,400 Hawaii residents are out of work and probably an equal number have been relegated to part-time employment or have dropped out of the labor force entirely.
"It is critical that Chairman Inouye include these two vital protections -- already approved by the House -- in the Senate version of the stimulus bill," Stein continued. "Without reauthorization of E-Verify and a requirement that companies receiving stimulus money use the system, billions of taxpayer dollars could wind up creating jobs in Hawaii for illegal aliens instead of legal U.S. workers."
Nationwide, 7.6 percent of the labor force -- 11.6 million workers -- is unemployed, and another 13.4 million are involuntarily working part-time or have given up hope of finding a job. More than 100,000 employers already use E-Verify and the system has a 99.6 percent accuracy rate.
"It is unconscionable, at a time when so many Americans--including so many in Hawaii--are hurting, that any member of the U.S. Senate would support spending more than $800 billion of borrowed money without including minimal protections to ensure that the money is spent to put Americans back to work," said Stein. "Hundreds of billions of dollars have already been spent with little or no accountability. Americans want safeguards to ensure that this money does what it is supposed to do: Put U.S. workers back to work."