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Older Workers Laud Jobs Bill

But many doubt Congress will unite to pass it

As President Obama hit the road Wednesday to build support for his massive jobs bill, struggling older workers said they're angry about a divided Congress and skeptical that the proposal will affect them anytime soon.

That was the reaction from six men and women who have been interviewed by the AARP Bulletin over the last 18 months when they were unemployed or working part time because they couldn't find full-time jobs.

See also: Obama to Congress: Pass new jobs bill.

Older workers are hopeful about President Obama's job bill but skeptical of a poisonous political process in Washington

Older workers are skeptical about the jobs bill's future. — Photo by Shannon Stapleton

Though the group generally supported the bill, they unanimously expressed doubt that a contentious Congress will work together for the greater good.

"I think it's an excellent idea, and I think it would help me and a host of other people. But I don't see it getting done in the political climate we have," said Steve Stanislowsky, 62, who moved from Wisconsin to Tennessee to find work and a lower cost of living.

Stanislowsky has worked as a computer technician, a construction industry inspector, an inventory auditor and a transportation specialist in the span of nearly two years. He said he changed jobs frequently because work dried up or he found something better.

"It's a terrible tragedy of our democracy that politicians will argue about anything and everything," he added.

After working as a broadcast technician in Atlanta for 27 years, Rodney Barber was laid off in September 2010. The 51-year-old lived off unemployment benefits and steady withdrawals from his 401(k) plan for a year.

In August, Barber got a job as a school bus driver earning $18,000 per year, less than half of what he'd been making. On the bright side, he no longer has to pay more than $600 a month for health insurance now that his coverage is provided by his employer.

Barber knows other older workers who've been without jobs for long stretches but said he doubts that Obama's plan to bring down unemployment will help them.

"Anything he has done to try to stimulate jobs has failed," Barber said. "You have everybody in Congress fighting each other, and nobody's pulling together. As long as there is bad blood, there will be a lot of conflict and no one will come to a resolution. If they worked together, it would be a different story, but they are not working to help the people."

Next: Older workers are unable to find steady employment. >>

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