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Labor and Jobs
George’s top priority is strengthening the middle class and supporting people who work for a living. He believes that America’s economy is only as strong as its middle class is strong and greater efforts are need to “Make it in America” and rebuild middle class families.
Job Creation and reigniting the American Dream
George understands that what Americans want most right now is a good job and a fair shot at the American Dream. That’s why George’s top priority has been to bring good jobs to the community he represents and to help create and keep good jobs in this country. Likewise, he understands that partisan politics and political brinksmanship in Washington is hindering economic growth and the American people’s chance to get a good job. Obstructionism in Congress has to stop.
George believes that America is strongest when the middle class is strongest and that we can and must reignite the American Dream again, so that all Americans who are willing to work hard and take responsibility can have the opportunity to succeed. But it is going to take a lot of hard work and will require that everyone in our country contribute their fair share to the effort.
This year, George championed several bills that would spur economic growth and help create good jobs. For example, he supported legislation to fix our roads and freeways – because they are is serious need of repair and fixing them will not only improve transportation and the economy but create good construction jobs in the process -- more than 2 million jobs, in fact.
In 2009, George supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that kept teachers in the classrooms and police and firefighters on the beat. And the Recovery act cut taxes for small businesses and enabled them to increases investments in new equipment and hire more employees.
Make it in America
George is doing everything he can to get our economy back on its feet. That’s why he has supported -- and repeatedly voted for – legislation that will create good paying jobs here at home and that would encourage our largest corporations to create jobs here in America. Part of the solution is ensuring that taxpayer resources and federal contracts support jobs and products that are ‘Made in the USA.’ For instance, while George isproud to travel of the new sections of the Bay Bridge, he believes that Congress must close those loopholes that allowed much of the labor and materials for the new bridge to be outsourced to China.
Recently, George visited the USS-POSCO Industries Steel plant in Pittsburg, CA that employs more than 750 workers to call for a level playing field for American workers against imports from China that are made cheaper, when compared with American products, because the Chinese government manipulates the values of its currency to make it artificially low. American workers are losing their jobs because of this currency manipulation. George has called for passing the “Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act” that would hold countries accountable for creating an unfair trade advantage through currency manipulation. This would help American businesses compete on a level playing field. No one can out-compete American workers or products when the playing field is level.
In addition, George has consistently voted to close the tax breaks that allow large corporations to ship American jobs overseas. Read more about the Make it in America agenda.
When George W. Bush was president, George Miller led the fight in Congress to raise the minimum wage. In 2007, after ten years without a raise, George and Sen. Ted Kennedy succeeded, and President Bush signed their bill into law. George often tells the story about how right after the law was signed, the late Sen. Kennedy leaned over to George and said it was time to start fighting for the next increase. George couldn’t agree more. The minimum wage has not been increased since.
Today, George is fighting for working people to get a raise again. He believes that no one who works hard every day and plays by the rules should live in poverty. He understands that an increase in minimum wage equals an increase in economic growth for our entire country. When workers have more money to spend, they spend it in their comminutes, increasing economic activity and creating more jobs.
That’s why George is led more than 100 Democrats to introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010). His bill would increase the minimum wage in three 85-cent steps, over three years, from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour.
George believes that every worker in the U.S. should be able to earn a living free of discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation or national origin.
The first major piece of legislation President Obama signed into law on January 29, 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – a bill that George authored and moved through the House. This law restores an employee’s right to challenge pay discrimination. Read more about the history of Lilly Ledbetter and the Fair Pay Act. And watch a video of George and Lilly talking about this important law and her moving story.
George has also fought hard to extend federal employment discrimination laws to protect workers based on sexual identity, to strengthen protections for older workers, and to enhance the rights of workers to bargain freely and without penalty for fair wages, benefits, and workplace safety. Read more about George’s support for Workers Rights
Retirement and Pensions
George believes that a secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work is critical to our country’s economic strength. As the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, George has been committed to ensuring workers have the tools they need to support themselves during retirement. In particular, George believes we must preserve and strengthen 401(k)-style and other retirement plans so that they are more transparent. Read more about George’s work on this issue.