Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a press conference today in the Capitol Visitor Center highlighting the urgent need for Congress to create jobs and protect workers' rights. Instead of focusing on America's top priority of job creation, House Republicans are bringing forward this week legislation to gut the National Labor Relations Board and outsource American jobs. Below are the Leader's opening remarks:
“Good morning, everyone. Thank you for being here. We are very honored by the presence of so many great American workers.
“I am pleased to be here with the Co-Chairs of the Steering and Policy Committee--Congressman George Miller, who also happens to be the Chair of the Education and Labor Committee of the House of Representatives, well he is the Ranking Member. He was the Chair and hopefully he will be the Chair soon again; our Steering Committee Chairperson, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut; Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, who has been part of that fight in Wisconsin, of course.
“And all of us, the Members of Congress, are very proud to welcome each and every one of you, Harold Schaitberger, the General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Welcome, Harold, and Mahlon Mitchell, who is the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President, and Patrick Bertucci, a worker at Boeing's Renton, Washington plant, a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
“Today, we come together to fight for jobs and the rights of American workers--to stand strong for our middle class, for our families, and America's future.
“We are here to send a clear message. Congress must create jobs, not destroy them. We must strengthen the middle class, not weaken it. We must stop giving tax breaks to corporations that send jobs overseas. And, we must protect workers' rights, not destroy them.
“That's exactly what Republicans are doing this week. They are voting to make matters worse with legislation to gut the National Labor Relations Board--where workers can voice their concerns and grievances.
“As my colleague Congressman George Miller--as I have said before, once and future Chair of the Education and Labor Committee--has said: this is nothing less than an ‘Outsourcers' Bill of Rights.' I would just add that it sounds like an ‘Outsourcers' Bill of Wrongs' to me.
“This bill would make it easier for corporations to send American jobs overseas and allow employers to punish workers for simply exercising their rights to organize, to demand better benefits and safer working conditions, to ensure a full day's pay for an honest day's work. That's what their bill would do, and Democrats are fighting back.
“For months, in Wisconsin, Ohio, and states nationwide, Americans have watched Republican governors and legislatures attack workers.
“At every turn, leaders and middle class Americans--teachers, firefighters, machinists, and even non-union members--have fought back. What an inspiration you all are to us.
“Now, Republicans are bringing their assault on America's workers' rights to Washington, D.C. And we are here to join our brothers and sisters across the country to fight back. We will not stand idly by while workers' rights are violated and the middle class is under attack.
“Just think. On Saturday, the Republicans had control of the House for 200 days. For 200 days, we have not seen a bill passed, signed into law that creates jobs. In fact, it has been just the reverse.
“H.R. 1, the very first bill, the Republican bill, we call it the ‘So Be It' bill because when the Speaker was told that the bill would lose 700,000 jobs he said: ‘so be it.' We say, no way. That evaluation of 700,000 jobs was by Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.
“H.R. 2, their very next bill the GOP Patients' Rights Repeal bill--300,000 jobs according to the Council of Economic Advisers.
“And then their budget, the Republican budget-- 900,000 jobs will be lost next year and 1.7 million jobs by 2014, according to Mark Zandi again. Would end Medicare, by the way.
“So just what's here? 700,000, 300,000 and 900,000…is almost 2 million jobs. 200 days in office, almost 2 million jobs lost by the legislation they have proposed. That's what they are proposing.
“And in committee, they have introduced an infrastructure and transportation bill that would lose 600,000 jobs. That has not come to the floor yet, but as the Chamber of Commerce has said, the ‘…investment levels are unacceptable.' The bill ‘will destroy - rather than support - existing jobs and will not enable creation of additional jobs.' That's what the Chamber of Commerce said about their transportation bill.
“We must, and will, keep up the fight for fair wages and good benefits. We must, and will, stand up for working families, for a stronger middle class, and for a growing economy.
“Right now, Republicans are proposing drastic cuts in their budget that will undermine our economic recovery while threatening Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
“Together, we will fight for our workers and American jobs; and in doing so, we will make our country greater, strengthen our economy, and strengthen our great middle class. And I thank all of you who are here for what you do to that end every day.
“I am pleased now to yield to the distinguished Co-Chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, once and future Chair, Ranking Member of the Education and Labor Committee, Congressman George Miller of California.”