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Published: Monday, 11/15/2010

Congress urged to pass bills for ‘green' jobs, renewable energy

“Americans want the federal government to spend money on jobs and the economy,” Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of America, said today on a conference call with reporters.

Labor leaders and environmentalists said they are seeking some legislative wins in the weeks remaining before Democrats lose control of Congress in January. Lawmakers have said they are focusing primarily on deciding whether to extend billions of dollars in Bush-era income tax cuts.

United Auto Workers President Bob King said the Nov. 2 elections, in which Republicans won control of the House and expanded their Senate minority, showed voter were frustrated by a lack of jobs.

“There is deep concern about unemployment,” King said on the call. “The green-jobs agenda is an opportunity for Congress to show the American people they care about jobs.”

Unions and environmentalists formed a Blue Green Alliance to seek creation of environmentally friendly jobs. The group is calling for funding programs that make homes and offices energy efficient, and changing tax policy to encourage businesses to invest in manufacturing jobs that help the environment.

Gerard said he will continue to press the agenda, even if Congress doesn't show a willingness to act.

“I don't intend to take the path of least resistance,” Gerard said. “I intend to take the path of the most jobs.”

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