Alexander: Americans Need More Job Opportunities, More Flexibility

Says Senate Democrats’ proposed mandates will destroy job opportunities for millions of Americans

Posted on August 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 5 – Senate labor committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said Senate Democrats’ proposals to create new mandates on American employers were “designed to make it harder to hire and harder to find work.”

“With more than 10 percent of American workers either unemployed or working part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time work – it’s clear that what Americans need are job opportunities and policies from Washington that encourage businesses to grow and hire and take risks on new ideas,” Alexander said. “Republicans have proposals to encourage employers to hire and to help workers succeed with training and flexibility.”

Senate Democrats today tried to pass several bills by unanimous consent on the Senate floor, including:

  • A bill to mandate a 65.5 percent increase in the federal minimum wage—estimated to destroy 1.3 million jobs, according to an American Action Forum calculation using methodology from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • A bill to increase costs to state, local and tribal governments by $1.4 billion over five years, and the private sector by $11.4 billion over five years—according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate—by mandating that employers provide paid sick leave.

The costs of these bills, Alexander noted, would all be in addition to the estimated $80 billion in annual regulatory costs associated with the more than 180 major rules created by the Obama administration.  They would also be in addition to the many pending regulatory proposals the Administration is pursuing, such as the recent overtime proposed regulation that will ensure more Americans work fewer hours, but does not guarantee a single person more income. 

Alexander said instead Congress should focus on proposals to help Americans with more job opportunities and more flexibility at work, including:

  • Reform the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Replace long-term unemployment compensation with job training
  • Change Obamacare’s work week definition from 30 hours to 40 to stop Obamacare from discouraging full-time jobs
  • Pass the “Working Family Flexibility Act,” from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) to allow private-sector employers the ability to offer their employees the option of comp time or overtime pay, both accrued at 11Ž2 times the overtime hours worked.

He pointed to bipartisan work to improve the nation’s public schools, with the Every Child Achieves Act passed by the Senate last month; help more students finish college, as the committee undertakes the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act; and improve job training programs, as in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act passed last year, as “the kinds of useful proposals that will actually help American workers.”

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