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October 19, 2006
CONTACT: Lindsey Mask or Steve Forde
Telephone: (202) 225-4527

House Workforce Chair: Pelosi Majority Would Mean
Higher Taxes for Working Families,
More Washington Mandates for Employers

          WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) today warned of a dramatic economic policy shift that could occur following a potential Pelosi Democrat takeover of the panel. Highlighting the stark differences between the Republican record and Democrat agenda on key economic issues, from health care and retirement security to job training and welfare reform, McKeon underscored the sharp distinction between 12 years of Committee Republican accomplishments and a laundry list of misguided Democrat priorities.

          “House Republicans have bolstered economic security by lowering taxes, improving job training, expanding access to quality health care, reforming our welfare system, and safeguarding retirement savings,” said McKeon. “House Democrats have opposed these efforts at nearly every turn and now place 12 years of progress at considerable risk. A Pelosi majority would derail Republican accomplishments with higher taxes, new mandates, and more government bureaucracy.”

          McKeon detailed a handful of issue areas in which a Pelosi majority would have a dramatic impact on the Education & the Workforce Committee’s legislative agenda.

          On Health Care…

          House Republicans have advanced legislation to allow small businesses to band together and purchase quality health care for workers and their families at a lower cost. The bill would increase small businesses’ bargaining power with health care providers, give them freedom from costly state-mandated benefit packages, and reduce their costs by as much as 30 percent.

          House Democrats would resurrect memories of “Hillary-care” by establishing a complex $50 billion taxpayer-funded, federal government-run health care program that imposes new mandates, such as requiring employers to pay 50 percent of premiums for employees, and subjects employers to more than 1,500 state mandates that make up 15 percent of the rising cost of health insurance. These employers would face an impossible dilemma: meet these conditions, even if they may strap a business to the point of going under.

          On Retirement Security…

          House Republicans have reformed outdated worker pension laws for the first time in a generation. These reforms include tough new funding requirements to ensure that workers’ pension benefits will be their when they retire, while encouraging greater retirement savings and personal control over those savings.

          House Democrats would surprise everyone if they finally offered a comprehensive pension reform plan. While Congress crafted an overhaul of broken private pension rules in 2005 and 2006, Democrats largely stayed on the sidelines. At no time was this clearer than in June 2005, when Education & the Workforce Committee Democrats universally voted “present” – rather than the traditional “yes” or “no” – in a Committee vote on pension reform legislation, without offering an alternative plan of their own.

          On Welfare Reform…

          House Republicans have done the unthinkable by reforming welfare – making it a temporary safety net, not a way of life. Not resting on their historic success, Republicans this year built upon the welfare reform law by renewing an incentive for states to reduce their welfare caseloads and pushed for a full 40-hour workweek for welfare recipients (up from 30).

          House Democrats would undermine welfare reform by rewarding those who don’t work for their welfare benefits. Democrats have proposed replacing actual work or vocational education with postsecondary education, essentially allowing welfare recipients to go to school while receiving welfare benefits intended for those on the job.

          On Border Security…

          House Republicans have exposed troubling provisions in the Senate Democrat immigration bill to expand a federal construction mandate to private sector projects – including those led by small businesses – as part of a new guest worker program and to allow states to provide in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.

          House Democrats would expand the Davis-Bacon wage mandate to private employers, forcing employers to pay foreign guest workers more than American workers doing the same job in the same city, while considering a repeal of a 1996 law that prohibits states from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens unless the state also offers the same benefit to all U.S. citizens.

          On Job Training…

          House Republicans have transformed – through the 1998 Workforce Investment Act – federal job training programs into a one-stop shop for job seekers and returned more power to state and local providers of job training and employment services. In recent years, House Republicans have aimed to make these services even more efficient by streamlining services and reducing inefficient, duplicative offices and programs.

          House Democrats would settle for the status quo by permitting duplicative programs to remain in place, allowing red tape to remain unchecked, and leaving job-seekers to deal with programs that are not as efficient and effective as they could be – all on the taxpayer dime.

          More information on how a Pelosi majority would harm students, parents, workers, and taxpayers is available here.

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