WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the dean of the Massachusetts delegation and top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, tonight issued the following statement after President Obama’s speech on the American Jobs Act.

“Tonight may be the kick-off of the football season, but we’re already in the third quarter of the fight for America’s workers. President Obama tonight gave Republicans a choice – join with him to advance the ball and commit to creating jobs, or punt and watch as American businesses and workers are chased off the field. The President highlighted the stark choice between investing in America’s workers or turning our back on future generations.

“We need only look at clean energy to see the industry where jobs are being created. There are 2.7 million jobs presently in the clean energy economy. Jobs in the wind industry are up 70 percent since 2007. Jobs in the U.S. solar industry have doubled in just the past year to nearly 100,000 workers. President Obama is correct – we need to get our unemployed construction workers back on the job. We can do that through installing solar panels, building wind turbines and making our schools energy efficient. Investments in clean energy are investments in the basic infrastructure that keeps our national economy moving.

“In times of limited resources, we do not have the benefit of the choice between either-or. Which is why it makes no sense to continue billions in subsidies to the most profitable oil companies in the world while small businesses are shutting their doors. Small businesses are the economic engine of our country and we need to foster their growth. I support President Obama’s call to provide them tax breaks to hire new workers.

“I also support President Obama’s call to put America back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and schools. Of the 5,113 bridges in Massachusetts, 50 percent are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Providing additional infrastructure funding will put Americans back to work in good, family-wage paying jobs, while improving our crumbling infrastructure and school rooms.  

“As the House author of the E-rate program that links schools and libraries to the Internet, I was pleased that the President talked about his plan to connect classrooms to the Web as part of the American Jobs Act. More high-speed Internet access in schools not only will put students on a fast track for success, it also will help create jobs and spur the economic activity we need.

“We know our economic recovery won’t be swift. We cannot leave our middle-class families out in the cold during these tough economic times. To help families make ends meet, I support President Obama’s call to extend unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans who have found themselves out of a job through no fault of their own.  

“There is nothing more urgent than putting Americans back to work, and the President’s words tonight offered hope for a future that holds the promise of jobs and prosperity for middle-class families.  It has been more than 230 days since House Republicans have been in the majority but they have yet to put forward a job creation plan. I call on them now to join with President Obama and Democrats and pass the American Jobs Act immediately.”