News & Politics

Omar: Make MLK's ‘Vision a Reality’ and Guarantee Americans Federal Jobs

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said that now is the time to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s “vision a reality” by guaranteeing federal government jobs to Americans.

Omar joined Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) to reintroduce the House version of The Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act, which would “guarantee that adults in participating communities who want to work can do so, in a job that pays a living wage and provides benefits like health insurance, paid sick leave, and paid family leave.”

“This is not a problem of scarcity. It is a problem of greed. One family, the Walton family, has more wealth than nearly 49 million American families – 40 percent of the country. A crisis of this proportion requires bold solutions,” Omar said during a press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill.

The bill would create a 30-year pilot program within the Department of Labor to “test the promise and impact of a federal jobs guarantee in up to 15 communities and regions experiencing high unemployment.”

“Not only would this bill create a pilot program to guarantee jobs in 15 communities across this country, but they will be good jobs. All of these jobs would pay a living wage and provide benefits, like health insurance, paid sick leave, and paid family leave. This bill would also prioritize green energy jobs. And I view this bill as a key component of the Green New Deal,” Omar said.

Omar said that King called for the federal government to guarantee public jobs in 1968.

“It’s time to make that vision a reality. It’s time to provide a federal jobs guarantee for everyone who wants to work!” she wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called on America to "guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work." It's time to make that vision a reality. It's time to provide a federal jobs guarantee for everyone who wants to work!

Posted by Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

“Both Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Franklin Roosevelt believed that every American had the right to a job, and that government would see to it that every person who wants to work would be able to. This legislation is an attempt to fulfill that ambitious vision,” Booker said in a statement.

“A federal jobs guarantee is a major investment in our country’s most valuable asset – our workers – by getting them off the sidelines and into the labor force with a living wage and meaningful benefits, like paid sick leave and safe working conditions. Addressing the entrenched structural hurdles that hinder workers’ success by offering bold solutions is how we strengthen the working class, grow the economy, and broaden prosperity and dignity for workers in this country,” he added.