Save American Workers Act of 2015by Representative Todd C. Young
Posted on 2015-01-08
YOUNG of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I would like to elaborate on the
chairman's retort to what we just heard about criticisms pertaining to
Number one, this law is inherently unfair. Trying to finance health insurance for some Americans by cutting hours and wages for other Americans is just, frankly, not what we should be doing as a country. The Save American Workers Act would actually save most workers from a potentially massive loss in hours and wages, and I will walk the gentleman through that momentarily. It will also cause fewer workers to be directly impacted by this employer mandate.
Very briefly, let us start with saving most workers from a potentially massive cut in hours. Under current law, if you work between 40 to, say, 45 hours and your employer happens to not offer you employer-sponsored health insurance, you are in the minority. An employer is incentivized to offer these typically higher-wage, higher- skilled workers employer-sponsored health insurance, and that is why so many do. It is part of our normal functioning labor market.
So if one were to be moved hypothetically from 40 hours down to 29 hours, they would lose roughly $270 a week or $14,000 a year, according to the American Action Forum.
Under the Save American Workers Act, these 40- to 45-hour workweek individuals would no longer be at risk of such a massive cut in their wages or their hours.
[[Page H127]] Let's take someone working 30 to 35 hours, just above that new full- time employment threshold in ObamaCare. They tend to be lower-wage hourly workers, according to the Hoover Institution, and let's assume they had no employer-sponsored health insurance. There are 9.8 million Americans who fall into this category. They are vulnerable to a cut in their hours and wages.
Were one to move from 35 hours a week down to 29, they would lose on average $148 per week, or $7,694 a year--again, according to the American Action Forum.
Under the Save American Workers Act, these individuals, 30 to 35 hours a week, would no longer lose any hours or wages, just reinforcing the point that the good chairman made.
Well, this is why I introduced the Save American Workers Act. Let's restore the 40-hour workweek that so many people worked so hard to put in place, that has long been understood to be the gold standard of the workweek in this country.
Over the past few years, I have witnessed a strange phenomenon in our country. In Indiana, we have seen local school corporations announce they will limit the hours of substitute teachers, classroom assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians. We have seen retailers limit the hours of their cashiers. The list goes on and on, from hotels to manufacturers to colleges and universities.
I guarantee that every Member of this body back in their district has heard similar stories. This is happening because of the new 30-hour definition of full-time employment.
Now, there is no good reason to do this, other than, perhaps, to arbitrarily set this new definition of full-time employment to fund the massive cost of this national health care bill. It has ignored decades of practice in the labor market reality of our 40-hour workweek. It has distorted that market.
As a result, the Hoover Institution estimates that as many as 2.6 million American workers are at risk for lost hours.
Now, it is not just the lost hours that should concern us. Again, it is the lost wages. An employee losing 10 hours a week is also losing an entire week's paycheck each month. An employee going from 35 to 29 hours is seeing a 17 percent pay cut, courtesy of ObamaCare.
The people most affected by this provision are the people who can least afford it--89 percent of them do not have college degrees, 63 percent of them are women. Perhaps, ironically, it sounds a lot like the people ObamaCare was supposed to help.
CBO analysis indicates that it comes at the expense of up to $105 billion in cash wages. Now, I defy anyone to say that it is fair to expand coverage to a half-million people--that number from the CBO--on the backs of 2.5 million people who can't afford it. How fundamentally inefficient is the health care system that potentially requires the loss of over $200,000 in cash wages for each person it insures.
I authored H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, to help these hardworking Americans. And I introduced this bill jointly with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Lipinski), who happens to be a Democrat. He, too, realizes that ObamaCare is littered with serious unintended consequences that need to be addressed.
In the Senate, we have seen a similar version of this bill introduced in a bipartisan manner.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.