There are many things that the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") does to protect Americans: DHS' mission includes everything from preventing terrorism and enhancing security to managing our borders and ensuring disaster resilience. However, DHS does NOT currently protect the Americans employed by its contractors and subcontractors from retaliation for discussing wages with coworkers.
Yesterday, Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that would bar contractors and subcontractors doing business with DHS from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages. Seems reasonable, right? Punitive pay secrecy policies allow employers to maintain discriminatory practices and the threat of retaliation makes employees feel powerless. Who would object to non-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions, you may ask?
Rather than supporting the rights of employees to seek out pay disparities and combat wage discrimination, the committee passed a substitute amendment that substituted all of the substance of the DeLauro amendment with hot air. Read more »
Last week we submitted comments in opposition to The Working Families Flexibility Act, the “comp time in lieu of overtime” bill that went to the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections for a markup last Wednesday. And now we can’t get the song “Promises, Promises” out of our heads.
You made me promises, promises You knew you'd never keep Promises, promises Why do I believe?
The Working Families Flexibility Act is filled with empty promises. Instead of providing flexibility, it would take hard-earned overtime pay out of workers’ pockets in exchange for the elusive promise of compensatory time off. While the bill’s supporters claim that there is nothing coercive about offering a comp time alternative to overtime pay, they do so against a backdrop of rampant violations of low-wage workers’ rights to overtime. In a study of low-wage workers in major cities, 76% said they worked overtime without being paid time and one-half. It is a safe bet that enacting a comp time law would give rise to a whole new category of wage and hour abuses. Read more »
As children, we all learn the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. This basic rule, however, appears to have been left out of Robert’s Rules of Order, a widely used authority on parliamentary procedure and the basis for many of the rules in the U.S. Congress. Of course, we need rules and order, but if you’ve ever seen the Prime Minister’s Questions on CSPAN then you understand that parliamentary procedure does not dictate collegiality.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on the rules of debate for H.R. 1120 – a bill concerning the functioning of the National Labor Relations Board. Unfortunately, a little discussion of the rules for debate in the House of Representatives is necessary, but I’ll keep it simple. For just about every bill introduced in the House, the Representatives first vote on the rules of debate for the bill. Before they take the vote, someone must “call the previous question” in order to end debate. Then the Representatives vote yes or no on the motion.
This is the kind of procedural rule that is confusing and obscure enough that the majority party in the House is able to use it to its advantage – and often does. This time it was used to prevent a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Doesn’t seem like they are following the Golden Rule now, does it?
It’s not too late, though! Yesterday morning, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) filed a discharge petition on the Paycheck Fairness Act that would force the bill to the House floor for a vote. Read more »
Today, thanks to the great work of Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the Paycheck Fairness Act will come up in the House of Representatives. Yes, you heard that correctly – your Representatives will have a chance to vote in support of PFA today.
Take Action: Make a quick phone call to your Member of Congress! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Call the switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Ask to speak with your Representative. (Not sure who your representative is? Check here.)
When you get someone on the phone say: “Hi my name is ____________ and I’m a constituent. I would like to urge Representative _______ to stand up for women and vote in favor of the Paycheck Fairness Act when it comes up later today.
It’s that simple. What are you waiting for? Read more »
Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in a press conference held by several Congresswomen on what the budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would do to women and their families (that’s me standing in front of the flag!).
We’ve previously highlighted the ways the Ryan budget would harm women, like dismantling Medicaid and repealing the ACA; deeply cutting funding for programs like child care, Head Start, education and job training; and providing lavish tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations.
The event, held by Representatives Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), addressed these harmful policy proposals in another way - by showing the human cost of these cuts. Read more »
A discharge petition is a petition maintained by the Clerk of the House of Representatives which, when signed by a majority of House members, can discharge a committee from the further consideration of the object of the petition. (English: It’s a way to force the bill out of committee and onto the House floor so that it can be debated and voted on.) It requires 218 signatures – no more, no less, regardless of resignations or deaths, because the rule requires enough member signatures to constitute a true majority of the House.
As you may know, House Democrats filed a discharge petition on H.R. 15, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, yesterday. It is being referred to as the Walz petition because it was filed by Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.). Read more »
While we only know of one woman who made sure to cast her vote even though her water had broken and her contractions were five minutes apart, she was far from alone in her determination to make her voice heard at the polls yesterday in an election season where women’s health, reproductive rights, and fair pay were frequent flashpoints. Women made up the majority of the electorate on Tuesday—53 percent. Unmarried women were 23 percent of voters, up from 20 percent in 2008. And women’s votes were key to yesterday’s results.
With a few races too close to call, there will apparently be between 75 and 79 women in the House of Representatives, up from 73 currently serving. There will be 20 in the Senate, up from 17 currently serving. This means that women will comprise about 18 percent of the next Congress, up from under 17 percent in the current Congress.
Other historic achievements last night:
Senator-elect Mazie Hirono (D-HI) became the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Senate and Hawai’i’s first female Senator.
Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) became the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate and Wisconsin’s first female Senator.
I’m at that time in life when lots of my friends are having kids. I’m thrilled for my friends - their kids are awesome and adorable. But one thing they’re not is cheap. And if Republicans have their way, kids are about to get even more expensive.
New analysis by the Tax Policy Center shows that the tax bill (H.R. 8) introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) (a bill virtually identical to S. 3414 which was introduced by Senate Republican leaders and rejected by a majority of the Senate last week) ends tax cuts for millions of hard-working families. In fact, more than one-third of all families with children and nearly three-quarters of low-income families with children (who make an average of $17,400 a year) would lose valuable tax benefits under Rep. Camp’s bill. The loss would be particularly hard for women who are the majority of low-income parents.
Wonder why so many families will lose out under Rep. Camp’s tax bill? It, like the bill introduced by Senate Republican leaders, would end tax cuts for low- and moderate-income families that were put into place by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. The National Economic Council estimates that by letting these tax cuts expire:
12 million families would lose an average of $800 from the elimination of the Child Tax Credit expansion.
11 million families would lose an average of $1,100 from the repeal of the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses.
6 million families would lose an average of $500 from the elimination of improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit.
End Tax Cuts for the Richest 2%, Not Working Families
Tell your Representative to vote for tax fairness!
Call 1-888-744-9958 today!
Whew, that was a nail biter!
Last week, the Senate voted 51 to 48 to stand up for tax fairness. This week your Representative will cast a vote on two tax cut bills — one that would help millionaires and one that would help working families.
Demand Tax Fairness Now: Call 1-888-744-9958 and listen to easy instructions and a sample script.
H.R. 15, introduced by House Democratic leaders, would end Bush-era tax cuts that benefit only the richest 2% of Americans and extend improved tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families.
H.R. 8, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), would leave no millionaire behind by continuing Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans — and end improved tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families.
And here's the kicker. More than one in three families with children — and three out of four low-income families with children — would lose out under H.R. 8. Read more »