Weekly Columns

Restoring America’s Fiscal Health

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Washington, November 30, 2011 | comments

Last week the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced its failure to reach an agreement on how to reduce spending. Now, even though the supercommittee was unable to find common ground, spending will still be cut by $1.2 trillion, under the terms of the Budget Control Act.

The opportunity we missed was an opportunity to reform our mandatory programs.  Instead, $1.2 trillion of cuts will still be enacted starting in 2013, and they will be significant.  In order to ensure that detrimental cuts do not happen on the backs of hardworking taxpayers or by jeopardizing our national defense, Congress needs to re-examine every program scheduled to receive spending cuts.  I will work hard to protect needed funds for our national defense.

This week Congress addressed the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) latest attempt to strip workers’ right to a fair union election.  As chair of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee for Education and the Workforce, I am pleased the House took up action on H.R. 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, because it’s time to bring some accountability to the NLRB and its activist agenda.  The legislation would guarantee workers receive all the facts from both employers and unions and have the ability to make a fully informed decision, rather than participate in a rushed election.

It is clear the NLRB is seeking to make it dramatically easier to unionize businesses.  Instead of encouraging employers to expand operations and hire new workers, the NLRB would cause chaos in the workforce by dividing employees and raising an employer’s labor costs.  H.R. 3094 will promote labor peace instead of the way the NLRB is going about it, which is only encouraging misinformation and workplace dissatisfaction.

Growing up in a union household, I understand the need for transparency and fairness in union organization efforts. For me, there is no right more precious for any American than the right to a secret ballot.  It’s how the president of the United States, members of Congress, and even union leaders are elected.  I strongly believe in preserving the individual worker’s right to vote by secret ballot on whether to form a union, and their right to not be rushed before voting. 

There is no doubt that Congress has many challenges before it in the upcoming month; however, I see this as an opportunity to do the right thing for the American people. This includes addressing the Medicare physician payment formula so our seniors do not face an access to care crisis. We have a responsibility to ensure physicians don’t take a 30 percent pay cut.

Over the next several weeks I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to offer solutions and cut duplicative and wasteful programs that are out-of-date and adding to the deficit.

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