Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today in opposition to the GOP Outsourcers' Bill of Rights. This legislation, which will encourage the shipping of jobs overseas and weaken the rights of middle class workers, passed the House this afternoon. Below are the Leader's remarks.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding, commend him for his tremendous leadership on behalf of America's workers. Thank you, Mr. Andrews, for your leadership.
“Mr. Speaker, across the country, Americans of every political party, in every background- Democrats, Republicans, independents, and others - agree that our nation's top priority must be the creation of jobs and economic growth and security.
“Yet, for more than 250 days, the Republican Majority in the House has refused to listen to them. They, the Republicans, have failed to enact a single jobs bill. And the American people do not have the luxury of waiting any longer for Congress to act to create jobs.
“The President has proposed the American Jobs Act. He has called upon us to pass the bill now, and I support that, as do the Democratic Members of the House.
“But today, instead of passing a jobs bill, we are wasting the time of the Congress by attacking workers, instead of strengthening them.
“We are debating a bill to undermine the foundation of our middle class, instead of fighting to put people to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, railways, broadband lines, schools, airports, water systems.
“We are voting on a measure to send jobs overseas, instead of focusing on how to keep jobs here at home through our ‘Make It In America' initiative advanced by our Democratic Whip, Mr. Hoyer. ‘Make It In America'- how to strengthen our economy and our national security by stopping the erosion of our manufacturing base, indeed by strengthening our manufacturing and industrial base.
“I want to recognize my colleague, Congressman George Miller, the Ranking Member on the Committee of Education and Workforce, for his leadership, for his knowledge, for his tireless advocacy, for not only his intellect but his passion on the subject of America's workers.
“As Congressman Miller has said, our Republican colleagues have proposed the so-called Outsourcers' Bill of Rights. Or, as I prefer to call it, the Outsourcers' Bill of Wrongs - because this legislation has the wrong priorities for America's economy and for American workers.
“The bill is about more than one company or a single case - it is about the economic security of America's workforce and families.
“Rather than create jobs, this measure encourages the outsourcing of jobs and undermines the rights of middle class workers. This bill cuts the National Labor Relations Board, makes it easier for corporations to ship jobs overseas, allows employers to punish their employees for simply exercising their rights to organize, to demand better benefits and safer working conditions, to ensure a full day's pay for a full day's work.
“For months, in Wisconsin, Ohio, and states nationwide, Americans have seen Republican governors and legislatures attack teachers and public servants. And we've seen these workers - union and non-union alike - inspire the nation to fight back.
“Now, Republicans have brought their assault on working Americans to our nation's capital, to the floor of the House, claiming their actions will help the economy.
“But it will do just the opposite: it will weaken our workers, our middle class, and our families; indeed, the cornerstones of our economic prosperity of our middle class and of our democracy.
“This Outsourcers' Bill of Wrongs or Rights is not about jobs - it's about dismantling protections established specifically to strengthen the rights of workers.
“We need these protections now more than ever. Last year, American companies--listen to this: last year American companies created 1.4 million jobs overseas, overseas, while raking in enormous profits. We must create these jobs here at home.
“Democrats will stand strong for our working men and women. We will stay focused on jobs and economic growth.
“On a personal note, Mr. Speaker, the other night I had one of the thrills of my political lifetime. I received, such an honor for me, the Frances Perkins Award from my colleague Lynn Woolsey, a champion for working families in our country.
“For those of you who may not know Frances Perkins from history, she was the first woman to serve in the cabinet of the President of the United States. She was the Secretary of Labor, and she was responsible for many important initiatives: the 40-hour work week, ability for workers to bargain collectively. She was a remarkable champion for working people in our country. She was largely responsible for creating Social Security. Imagine having that as her credentials.
“Imagine what a thrill it was for me to receive an award named for her, especially given by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, a champion on the Education and Workforce Committee.
“Much of what she did, well the credit was given to the President of the United States, as is appropriate. More than 75 years ago, upon the signing the National Labor Relations Act, President Franklin Roosevelt said this: ‘By preventing practices which tend to destroy the independence of labor, [this law] seeks, for every worker within its scope, that freedom of choice and action which is justly his.'
“I guess he could have said his or hers, but…
“That ‘independence,' that ‘freedom of choice and action,' has rested at the core of a growing, thriving American workforce.
“It has not limited the ability of companies to move, to change, or extend their operations. It has simply ensured that companies treat their workers in ways consistent with the laws of our land.
“The independence and freedom of our workers have helped build and expand our middle class, which is the backbone of our democracy, and drive unprecedented prosperity for our families and for our nation. And it must be preserved in our time.
“I call upon my colleagues to do just that, to preserve this right in our time. I call upon my colleagues to oppose this legislation, to uphold the value of fairness for our workforce, and to get to work putting the American people back to work by bringing President Obama's bill, the American Jobs Act, to committee and to the floor to, again, again, give people hope and confidence and the dignity of a job.”