Republican Labor-HHS Bill a Significant Step Backwards

Oct 4, 2011 Issues: Education, Labor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, issued the following statement after Chairman Rehberg unveiled a draft Labor, Health and Education appropriations bill.

“The Republican draft Labor, Health and Education appropriations bill released last week represents a significant step backwards for our nation’s working families, from students to workers and those struggling to secure a job.  It signals that, once again, Republicans will use the government funding process as leverage for special interest provisions that harm middle class and low-income families. At a time when we should be working together to jumpstart the stalled recovery, House Republicans are instead pushing a narrow special-interest agenda to appease their ideological base.”

Among other provisions, the Republican draft:

  • Includes a litany of special interest policy provisions that take away basic labor rights from workers, including stripping workers of any enforceable right to organize for a better deal at work.
  • Defunds the Affordable Care Act, which has already significantly increased the number of young adults with coverage, lowered drug prices for seniors and banned the use of preexisting medical conditions for children seeking coverage.
  • Threatens funding for federal job training programs while unemployment remains above 9 percent, with 25 million Americans either unemployed or underemployed.
  • Harms the health and safety of workers. It would roll back modern protections to prevent miners from getting black lung disease, prohibit OSHA from protecting workers from roof falls and knowing the facts of common workplace injuries, and stops a successful training program on improving workplace safety. 
  • Needlessly rolls back critical protections for low-income families in higher education, and blocks protections for students and taxpayers from programs that are not giving students what they are paying for.
  • Zeros out national service programs that maintain tens of thousands of Americans who serve our nation’s communities in popular programs like AmeriCorps.

“Unfortunately, this proposal is just more of the same from this Republican Pink Slip Congress. Rather than working together to grow and strengthen the middle class, House Republicans are once again proposing short-sighted cuts on the backs of those who don’t have high-priced lobbyists or million dollar political contributions.”