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Why wasn’t Rep. Hanna at Joint Economic Committee meeting on unemployment?

On April 24, 2013 the Joint Economic Committee, made up of Senators and Representatives from Congress, had a meeting to discuss the resolution to long-term unemployment (roughly 40% of those unemployed at this time). Virtually all members of this committee, Democrat and Republican alike, failed to appear (as reported by Huffington Post and National Journal).

It is not our purpose to ask why the other Senators and Representatives did not appear at this event, that is for the constituents those elected officials must answer to. We do have a question for Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents the New York 22nd Congressional District. Why wouldn’t the elected representative appear at a meeting to address a national concern – especially as Binghamton (8.8%) and Utica-Rome (9.0%) exceed the national unemployment rate (7.4%). In fact, not a single county in the NY-22 has less than 8.0% unemployment, several having as much as 11% unemployment according to the NY State Labor Dept.

In addition, Rep. Hanna did have the time to issue a letter, to Politico, addressing the need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs to improve small business. The solution offered by Rep. Hanna was an increase in foreign visas and immigration reform.

“There are many worthy policy proposals to consider that could help achieve this desirable end. Whether it be an increased H-1B visa cap, an automatic visa for foreign students that graduate from a U.S. college with an advanced STEM degree, or another system altogether, if Congress undertakes immigration reform without permitting small businesses to access the qualified STEM workers they are clamoring for now we will be missing an opportunity to revitalize our economy.”

Thus we must ask, why was Rep. Hanna not at a meeting for resolving long-term unemployment while at the same time urging immigration reform to resolve STEM jobs? Is this what the constituents of the New York 22nd District believe, is this a representation of their views?

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