WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 11, 2011
Today’s effort is driven by a simple goal: to ensure every area of the federal government is dedicated to job creation. If we are to get the nation back to work, we all must work together to remove barriers to economic growth and prosperity.
Every job matters, and every effort to help create a new job matters. The American people have demonstrated a relentless determination to make the difficult choices necessary to get through these tough times. We should do no less.
Employers need certainty, flexibility, and freedom to expand their businesses and hire new workers. Red tape should not tie down economic growth, and onerous regulations should not be roadblocks to job creation.
Congress can no longer accept sweeping changes that affect the lives of students and workers without first determining whether it is good for our long-term competitiveness, good for job-creators, and good for our economy.
We were sent here to focus on getting the economy back on track and the American people back to work. Today we are moving forward with our commitment to do just that.
In my conversations with constituents, I have seen the desperation that follows months of searching in vain for work. I also have witnessed the hope that is renewed at the prospect of future employment.
Everyone agrees you need rules of the road and commonsense protections; bad actors will always exist, and they must be held accountable for breaking the law. But we shouldn’t accept lost wages, lost jobs, and lost opportunities as inevitable consequences to advancing fairness, accountability, and responsibility.
The Education and the Workforce Committee oversees a broad range of policies that affect the nation’s workplaces and classrooms. A number of those policies will be discussed by other leaders of the committee in a few moments.
In the time remaining, I would like to discuss one area in particular that deserves closer examination: Is the federal government using its authority fairly and on behalf of America’s workers, or is it pursuing a partisan agenda that makes our workplaces less competitive.
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress more than 75 years ago. The NLRB is charged with preventing and remedying unfair labor practices and establishing whether employees desire union representation. Its responsibility is to fairly protect the rights of workers against unlawful encroachments by employers and unions.
Unfortunately, the board has recently shown an eagerness to tilt the playing field in favor of powerful special interests. A culture of union favoritism has seized the board, with consequences that reach into virtually every workplace. Stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot through a back-door card check scheme is just one looming threat. The board also has threatened legal action against states seeking to protect the secret ballot, and it has diminished safeguards for employers. We cannot allow the board to rewrite the rules of the game or circumvent the will of Congress in pursuit of its own job-destroying agenda.
This same culture of union favoritism has also swept across the Obama administration – expanding protections for Big Labor at the expense of rank-and-file workers. “Project labor agreements” and “high road contracting” sound innocent enough, but they put small businesses and the vast majority of their workers at a disadvantage – all at the expense of taxpayers.
These are the kinds of policies that should be examined to determine whether they undermine economic growth. Our efforts will not be blinded by partisanship. If we learn of a rule or regulation that stands in the way of a strong workforce – regardless of the Congress or administration that put it in place – we will take a look at it. This is a critically important responsibility, and I look forward to working with every member of Congress to get it done.
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