WASHINGTON (Feb. 24, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed news of the introduction of H.R. 4033, the American Worker Mobility Act, sponsored by Reps. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif.

The goal of the legislation is to help long-term unemployed Americans move from high unemployment areas to areas where unemployment is lower and companies are seeking qualified applicants for open jobs by providing them with relocation vouchers worth up to $10,000.

R Street has previously advocated for similar legislation, most recently in an article that appeared in the Weekly Standard earlier this month. In that column, R Street noted “[T]he federal government ought to do what it can to encourage people to move from places that lack opportunities to those that offer them in abundance.”

“Declining geographic mobility has been an important development in the American economy over the last few decades and has been accelerated by the recession,” said Lori Sanders, outreach manager and policy analyst at R Street, and co-author of the Weekly Standard article. “This bill is a creative attempt to help solve one of our economy’s underlying problems, and it does so in a responsible way by setting strict parameters for who is eligible and when.”

The legislation allows participants to self-select into the program, identifying strong candidates who may be otherwise unable to leave one area. Under the law, job seekers would have a new alternative to welfare or disability after unemployment benefits run out.

“It’s encouraging to see a bi-partisan effort to address these issues,” Sanders said. “Reps. Mulvaney and Cárdenas should be commended for their efforts and we hope to see many more co-sponsors sign on to the bill.”