Save American Workers Act of 2015by Representative Sander M. Levin
Posted on 2015-01-08
LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Republicans say that with this bill they are trying to help or, as they put it, save workers. But their legislation will lead to many times more workers becoming part time, losing millions of hours of work.
The Republicans constantly talk about the threat of increased budget deficits, but their bill would increase the deficit by over $50 billion. The Republicans like to say they care about the taxes people pay, but this bill would substantially shift responsibility for paying for health insurance from employers to taxpayers.
These are indisputable facts based on yesterday's analysis from the nonpartisan CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation. This chart helps to illustrate what this is really all about. Today, 7 percent, more or less, of workers work between 30 and 34 hours, while close to half work 40 hours. As you can see, the number working 40 hours overshadows dramatically those who are working less. This is the key point. So if you shift the basis of employer responsibility for health care to begin at 40 hours instead of 30 hours, the result will be a dramatic increase in the number of workers whose hours of employment will be reduced to less than 40 hours per week. You will be creating hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of 39ers.
CBO and Joint Task conclude, therefore, that 1 million workers will lose their employer-based health insurance, with half of them shifting to insurance through the health exchanges or through Medicaid--by the way, with some taxpayer support--and the other half--listen to this-- losing health insurance coverage completely.
So when you take off the label of this Republican bill and look at the contents in the package, this is a bad deal, highlighting the need for a truth in labeling requirement for this Congress. When you go beyond the benign Republican rhetoric, this is a bad deal for American workers and the middle class and taxpayers. That has led even a conservative like Yuval Levin to say that today's bill ``is worse than doing nothing.'' This bill is brought up today without any committee consideration or discussion with Democrats--the minority leader is here, the minority whip--not a single minute of discussion. Unfortunately, contrary to the rhetoric we heard yesterday--again, from the majority--about the need to look for common ground, on this issue the Republican approach is scorched earth.
I urge a strong negative vote, and I reserve the balance of my time.