Statement ● Jobs and Economy
For Immediate Release: 
January 10, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today in opposition to House Republicans' latest bill to undermine workers’ rights. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks: 

Click here to watch the full remarks.

"What a sad state of affairs. There are scores of critically important issues that need to be considered by this House, not the least of which is funding our government. We failed to do that, and now we are confronted with a bill that is recycled and we've added two natural resources bills on it we could have passed unanimously.

“I am a big defender of Native tribes' rights and sovereignty, and I know that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle remain committed to their sovereignty, as well. This bill, however, is about undermining the National Labor Relations Act, not about tribal sovereignty. That Act – the National Labor Relations Act – safeguards workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively. Most of my friends on the other side of the aisle are not for that. I know that. I've seen them vote that way.

“No matter where you work, the basic protections for American workers, however, ought to apply. It is already settled law that the National Labor Relations Act and other worker protection laws apply to businesses even on tribal lands, outside the context of inherently governmental functions carried out by tribal governments. This was not decided by some faceless bureaucrat. This was a court of our land that made this decision.

“Instead of undermining workers' rights, this House ought to be moving forward with policies that help our workers and their families make it in America as part of a strong middle class. That means raising wages. It means making childcare more affordable. It means expanding access to opportunities like higher education, homeownership, and secure retirement. Those are the issues that Democrats continue to be focused on. That's not what this bill focuses on.

“Instead, Republicans are focused not on helping workers, but trying to pit one group – tribes – against another group – workers. That's not what we ought to have in this country.

“And they're attaching popular, noncontroversial natural resources bills to this legislation. They have nothing to do with this legislation and would pass overwhelmingly.

“I am going to vote against this bill, and I hope they bring back the natural resources bills so we can pass those as everybody wants to do. This is not kind of regular order Speaker Ryan promised when he took the gavel and that Republicans promised when they took the Majority.

“Moreover, they are bringing this to the Floor when we should be, as I said at the outset – as I said at the beginning – we are bringing this bill to the Floor, a retread. This is not new legislation that they're offering. The only thing new about it is they put two natural resources bills attached to it.

“We should be focused, as I said before, on reaching agreement on appropriation bills, on caps, on protecting DREAMers, on making sure that CHIP children aren't left aside. Not this bill. But no – those bills aren’t scheduled today and they’re not scheduled next week, as far as I know. Maybe the Majority Leader will give me better information tomorrow.

“In fact, what we ought to be working on now, as I say, are those appropriation bills. But under the Republican Majority, we're still stuck working on Fiscal Year 2018 when we are already nearly halfway through.

“I urge my colleagues not to oppose tribal sovereignty, not to oppose the rights of our Native American brothers and sisters. We're for them. But not to be pitted against workers making a decent, acceptable wage so they can live with some quality of life. It is not enough to give the upper 1% a huge tax cut and pretend you're helping the middle class, the workers. In fact, in this bill you're doing exactly the opposite.

“I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and stand up for workers, whether they're Native Americans or whoever they may be.  Stand up for workers, respect workers, understand that workers made this country great and they deserve our support and our protection. Defeat this bill.”