Friday, October 21, 2005

Fighting the Gulf Coast Wage Cut

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) found a way to fight back against president Bush's cutting of wages for people rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Even after awarding no-bid contracts to corporations, Bush suspended the law that would require those companies to pay the prevailing average wage in the area. I wish him success.

Today I introduced a new bill to overturn President Bush's wage cut for Gulf Coast workers. This time, Republican leaders in Congress cannot ignore it.
Every single House Democrat, 37 House Republicans, and one House independent are on record opposing the President's Gulf Coast wage cut - a clear majority of the House of Representatives. But Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow a vote to overturn the wage cut. Now it looks like they have no choice.

I was able to determine that, under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, I am able to force a vote within 15 calendar days of introducing a "Joint Resolution" - which I did at noon today. In this case, that means that if Congress doesn't act by Friday, November 4, I can go to the House floor and demand a vote on my resolution. Congress then has three days to schedule that vote.
So the bottom line is this: by the first or second week of November, there will be a vote on whether or not construction workers who are rebuilding the Gulf Coast will get a fair wage for their labor.

Republican leaders in Washington have found lots of ways to abuse their grip on power. One way is that they maintain tight control on the House voting schedule, and they won't allow the House to vote on legislation they don't like, including when bills have widespread support. For example, Peter King (a moderate Republican from New York) and I have a bill to remove obstacles to union organizing for workers who want to collectively bargain and have a stronger voice with their employers. Over 200 members of the House support that legislation, but Republican leaders refuse to let it see the light of the day.

That's why it's important that Democrats look for any opportunity - like this Joint Resolution - to help workers and to make sure that people know where we stand. If we fight hard, and we always look for those windows of opportunity, then hopefully we can do some good and show Americans that we want to advance a very different set of priorities than Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Roy Blunt, and Karl Rove do.

H/T Tpm Cafe

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