"Restoring economic growth in a fair and equitable way will be the tide that raises all boats.”
SUMMARY OF STANCE
Even though we now see the lowest unemployment numbers since the Recession of 2008, hardworking American families are still feeling the financial impacts. Income inequalities remain prevalent. Wages continue to stagnate despite increased worker productivity. The middle class has not received the benefits of an economy they have contributed so much to. The wages of low-income workers have been buried beneath a rising cost of living that has made the real value of their pay dwindle until they are below the poverty line. As your Representative in Congress, I support a strong and thriving middle class as well as a strengthening of our nation’s world renowned upward mobility that offers a path into the middle class. I will continue to support common sense pieces of legislation that ensure job growth for all Americans and that keep our country competitive.
RELATED LEGISLATION AND ACTIONS
Introducing legislation is just one action that a member of Congress can take to address a concern or issue that impacts constituents. House Members can also introduce Congressional resolutions calling on the House (or even the full Congress) as a body to recognize or support a certain event or position on an issue. Members can write letters to government leaders requesting they take certain action, hold hearings with expert panels to address issues, work with colleagues at the committee level on specific issues, or even make direct in-person appeals to other Members or officials in the government. Here are a few examples of how I have taken action on this issue.
Raising the Minimum Wage
Climbing the ladder of upward mobility begins for many Americans with a minimum wage jobs. However, what was previously an entry level or first job has now become all to commonly a job for adult Americans with families. At the same time, the actual real world value of minimum wages has stagnated and in fact been surpassed by the cost of living. That is why I am a proud cosponsor of the “Raise the Wage Act” that would increase the federal minimum wage of employees over a seven-year timespan to $15 and end subminimum wage certificates for individuals with disabilities.
Helping Small Business
Small businesses are the driving force of job creation in this country. This is why one of my first actions in Congress was forming the bipartisan Small Business Caucus. Recently, I joined the new Microbusiness Caucus.
In times of economic and political uncertainty, Congress must find unique and cost-effective ways to support our small businesses. This is why I authored and introduced H.R.4178, the “American Unemployed Worker Investment Act,” which amends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to provide small employers with 10-25 full-time employees a two-year $4,000 per new employee credit for hiring individuals currently receiving unemployment compensation.
By creating private sector incentives for hiring out-of-work Americans, we can reduce the amount we as a nation spend on unemployment benefits – all the while creating jobs and economic opportunities for out-of-work Americans.
I am also a cosponsor of H.R.3191, the “Expanding Opportunities to Underserved Businesses Act.” The bill would increase the maximum level of Small Business Administration (SBA) microloans from $50,000 to $75,000. It would also provide underserved small businesses with small short-term loans for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery, and/or equipment.
American Jobs Act
As a Member of Congress, one of my goals is to promote sustainable job creation with a strong focus on uplifting middle class families. I remain supportive of a pro-jobs and pro-Middle Class agenda, such as former President Barack Obama’s “American Jobs Act.” This piece of legislation sought to give tax cuts to small businesses, funding for more cops, firefighters, schools, and provided for billions for infrastructure improvements. I cosponsored the bill when it was re-introduced as H.R. 2821, the “American Jobs Act of 2013.”
Investing in our Infrastructure
Roads, bridges, and railways are economic connectors for the private sector and create thousands of high-paying jobs in a diverse range of industries. Smart, long-term investments in our infrastructure will pay off in dividends for generation after generation; therefore, we must increase domestic investment to rebuild our economy from the ground up – starting by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.
My “Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act” (H.R.1308) to rebuild our freight infrastructure is a perfect example of the kind of sound legislation we can develop to invest in our nation’s key infrastructures while creating jobs and boosting our economy.
CAUCUSES OR MEMBERSHIPS RELATED TO ISSUE
Ports Caucus I serve as the Co-Chair of the Ports Caucus which was developed to promote the importance of our nation’s ports with regard to our nation’s economy and the need to secure them by promoting dialogue between Congress, the Administration and relevant federal agencies, as well as important industry officials.
Small Business Caucus
I joined the Congressional Small Business Caucus to help raise awareness of issues that most impact small businesses including access to capital, access to technology, regulation and taxation, and exploring legislative solutions to encourage entrepreneurship and small business growth. The Caucus provides information and education to help Members of Congress arrange job fairs, business roundtables, trade expos and other events in their districts that promote small business growth and encourage job creation.
The purpose of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus is to define and elevate the narrative of microbusinesses in Congress and provide a forum for micro business owners to have constructive conversations about obstacles and regulatory barriers preventing entrepreneurs from starting and scaling their business in the United States. The Caucus seeks to empower U.S. microbusinesses in an effort to strengthen competitiveness, foster economic growth, and promote entrepreneurship in America by holding briefings and other events to facilitate discussion on relevant issues.
House Manufacturing Caucus
I am a proud member of the House Manufacturing Caucus which examines and promotes policies to help American manufacturers find trained, educated workers, continue to lead the world in developing new industrial technologies, operate on a level playing field with their foreign competitors, and obtain the capital they need to thrive.
Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Economic Empowerment Task Force As a member of the CPC, I sit on this task force which focuses on economy, trade, anti-poverty, tax, housing and foreclosures, jobs, and fair pay.
Friends of the Jobs Corp Caucus Job Corps is an academic remediation and career preparation program for economically disadvantaged youth. Each year, 60,000 high school dropouts, homeless young adults, young parents and students with learning disabilities enroll in Job Corps. It provides these youth with tools to start a career and become financially independent. The Friends of the Job Corps Caucus brings together a bipartisan group of U.S. House members to serve as a unified voice for the thousands of economically disadvantaged youth Job Corps serves annually.
Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus This caucus is a coalition of Members who are committed to advancing a pro-labor, pro-family legislative agenda and dedicated to protecting and defending workers and their families. Additionally, the Caucus will provide information and educate Members on issues that impact labor and working families. The members plan to prioritize fair and decent wages (including Davis-Bacon laws); on-the-job safety; retirement security (including Social Security and pension protection); proper classification of employees and independent contractors; and the protection and promotion of health and other employer-provided benefits.
Blue Collar Caucus
My colleagues and I in this caucus discuss ways to focus legislative efforts, messaging, and organizational outreach on better understanding the pain and anger felt by blue collar voters and addressing wage stagnation, job insecurity, trade, offshoring, and dwindling career opportunities for those in the manufacturing and building trades.
For more information concerning my work and views on jobs and the economy, please contact me.