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Kline Statement: H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act
As prepared for delivery.

I have the privilege of serving as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. As the name suggests, the committee has broad jurisdiction over policies affecting our nation’s classrooms and workplaces. It goes without saying that both face difficult challenges today.

Budget constraints continue to plague states, school districts, and institutions of higher education, straining their ability to effectively serve students. Workers and job creators are still struggling in a persistently anemic economy, making it difficult for many Americans to pay the bills and provide for their families.

Unfortunately, the health care law is making things worse. Thanks to the president’s government-run health care scheme, full-time jobs are being destroyed, not created; health care costs are going up, not down; and millions of individuals are losing the health care plan they like, instead of keeping it as they were promised.

This reality isn’t limited to just private businesses; it’s a reality unfolding in schools, colleges, and universities across the country. Recent headlines confirm in stark detail how the president’s health care law is hurting our education system:

  • From the Washington Free Beacon, “Alabama schools face shortage of substitute teachers due to ObamaCare;”

  • From the Weekly Standard, “Hours cut for 200 North Carolina teachers due to ObamaCare;”

  • And just in case I’m accused of selecting only conservative publications, from the New York Times, “Public sector capping part-time hours to skirt health care law.”
Aside from press reports, we have also heard first-hand accounts of how ObamaCare is making it harder for school leaders to meet the needs of students. In December the committee asked the public to share personal stories about the effects of the health care law on local classrooms and campuses.

Helieanna, from St. Anthony, Minnesota described her dream to teach at the school she once attended as a student. While that dream may have come true, she wrote that her “financial situation is less stable” than it was before the health care law.

Kate from Hemet, California informed the committee that her community college would have to restrict workers’ hours, noting “this impacts our ability to properly serve students.”

Secretary Sebelius once dismissed concerns about jobs lost and hours cut under ObamaCare as “speculation.” Yet for Helieanna, Kate, and countless others, the health care law is wreaking havoc on their families, their livelihood, and their schools. It’s time to do something about it.

By restoring the traditional standard of full-time work, the Save American Workers Act will help restore workers’ hours and allow them to earn the wages they deserve. And just as important, the legislation will provide relief for schools grappling with a flawed health care law.

Congress should not stand by while teachers have their hours cut and students receive diminished access to educational opportunities, all because of bad policies out of Washington.

I urge my colleagues to provide relief for our nation’s workplaces and classrooms by supporting the Save American Workers Act.

Before I yield back my time, I’d like to take a moment to recognize my friend and colleague Dave Camp, who announced earlier this week his plan to retire. During more than 20 years of service, Chairman Camp has been a distinguished member, a dedicated reformer, and a tireless champion of working families. He will be sorely missed in Congress, and I wish him and his family all the best in the years ahead.

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