US Labor Secretary Weighs In On President Biden's Infrastructure Plan

Thursday, May 13th 2021, 5:37 pm


The Biden administration continues to push for bipartisan support for the president’s multi-trillion dollar jobs plan, even as many states say employers are struggling to fill current job openings.

In an interview Thursday, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, a former union leader and most recently mayor of Boston, told News 9/News On 6 the American Jobs Plan is what the country needs right now.

“This really is about building back better and post pandemic coming back stronger,” said Walsh.

In a Zoom interview, the secretary said the president, who sat down with more GOP senators Thursday, is determined to pass a comprehensive job-creating infrastructure bill, with Republican support.

“Whether we put different pieces in different places, but it’s really important that the fundamental of that plan stays together because it’s an all-encompassing plan,” Walsh said.

In addition to traditional roads and bridges-type infrastructure, Walsh said the proposal would create jobs and wealth by investing in the caregiver industry, retrofitting homes and businesses, and investing in research.

“All of that benefits the people of Oklahoma, as well as benefits people all across this country,” the secretary said.

The push comes as Oklahoma considers joining a dozen other Republican-led states in opting out of the federal government’s supplemental pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program early.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said he lifted the state’s emergency order, it’s time for people who are collecting unemployment to get back to work.

“I think there’s about 60,000 Oklahomans have expired their state benefits, but they’re on federal benefits, so we should make a decision next week,” Stitt said in an interview on Wednesday.

Walsh said the conditions in each state are different.

“But I would just be careful, cautious because you could do more harm to people that are unemployed but can’t find jobs than good,” Walsh said.

The federal benefits are scheduled to end in September. Some states are now choosing to cut them off next month.