Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in opposition to H.R. 1406, Republicans' “Pay Working Families Less Act." Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Ms. [Martha] Roby [R-AL] and I are friends, but we have a very substantial disagreement about this bill. I call it the ‘pay working families less’ bill, because what it will result in is a cut in pay for almost everybody.
“Yes, there will be those who will volunteer who can afford to do comp time. Others will not be. So they will not be able to earn overtime, because the employer will invariably – not because they are bad people, but will invariably – go to the person that will in fact do it for free. I understand it's comp time, but they won't get paid.
“Most workers at this level need the pay. They need to pay their mortgage. They need to pay their car payment. They need to send their kids to school. It would of course be cheaper to run a business if we didn’t pay people at all, but it wouldn't be America.
“Mr. Speaker, today in the House it's déjà vu all over again. This bill has been here before, in 2003. It was pulled from the Floor. Why? Because at that point in time there were a significant number of Republicans who thought this was a lousy idea and thought it would undermine the Fair Labor Standards Act and the pay of working people. Unfortunately there aren't that number of Republicans left in this House.
“Déjà vu all over again. Not only because this bill would send American workers back to the days before the 40-hour workweek. But we’ve also seen this same bill introduced and then, as I have said, withdrawn. That's because it would eliminate the 40-hour workweek as we know it. I know my friends on the Republican side disagree with that premise, but I have been an employer. I’ve seen employers. They are not bad people, but they are trying to maximize profits. And they wouldn't be paying minimum wage if they didn't have to. And, very frankly, the minimum wage is way below what it ought to be.
“This bill says that we would provide the workers with comp time. But permission as to when a worker could take accrued comp time would be entirely in his or her boss’s hands.… The result would be longer hours for workers with no overtime pay and only the hope that their bosses will let them take their earned time off when asked.
“How we have skewed the rules and play against the middle, working class of America. You ought to read the book Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith. Workers wishing to collect their overtime pay would be forced to wait until the end of the year, essentially granting employers an interest-free loan.
“Mr. Speaker, this isn't fair. It isn't right. And it isn't going to become law. And everybody on this Floor knows that. Everybody – all 434 of us that are here today know that this bill is not going to become law, but we are wasting our time on it. Instead of wasting time on a partisan measure that would never make it through the Senate, we ought to working on creating jobs and restoring fiscal discipline. Not a partisan roll back of workers’ rights, but a bipartisan compromise to help put more Americans to work.
“Again I say if those Republicans who were a Member of this House in 2003 were still here, this bill will not be on the Floor.”