(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, today responded to Labor Department reports that jobless claims shot up by 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 516,000, the highest total in seven years.  As Congress returns to session next week, Murray called for a stimulus to help get Americans back to work.

“The continued rise in Americans filing for unemployment is a powerful reminder that families across the country are hurting.  Each day more Washington state residents worry about how the economic crisis will impact their jobs, their ability to pay the bills and their access to health care.

“As Congress prepares to return next week, we must turn our attention to an employment stimulus bill that will deliver help to families and quickly create jobs.  One of the best ways to do that is through investment in transportation infrastructure.  President-elect Obama has already announced that infrastructure investment will be a keystone of his economic recovery plan and as Chair of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I stand ready to help.

“We must also work to identify new, innovative ways to diversify and modernize our economy.  I support an economic stimulus that includes new incentives to create ‘green jobs’ in sustainable and emerging industries, and a jobs program for young workers being left behind in today’s economy.

“Last week Americans from coast to coast sent a message to Washington, D.C.  It is time to put our differences aside and get to work for the future of America.  I hope we can partner with the Bush Administration to make this happen and I look forward to working with the incoming Administration to embrace bold new solutions to get Americans back to work.”