Co-Sponsorship of the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 3222)

The Employee Rights Act (S.1874 / H.R. 3222), introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 43% and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) 76%, would protect workers from union pressure by putting power in the hands of employees and making union leaders more accountable to their members.  As the Heritage Foundation notes, if union bosses “were angels, such changes would be unnecessary” but “since they are not” new protections are necessary.

Heritage explains the legislation would guarantee employees the rights to:

  • Vote privately in a secret ballot election before forming a union;
  • Opt out of having their personal contact information provided to a union during an organizing drive;
  • Vote in a secret ballot election before accepting a contract or going on strike;
  • Vote regularly on re-electing their union;
  • Decide whether their union can spend their dues on matters unrelated to collective bargaining; and
  • Be free from union interference or extortion in exercising their legal rights.

Workers should not be pressured or coerced by unions or union leaders to take actions that undermine their rights.  Protecting the voting rights of employees is essential:

“YES” on the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act (H.R. 3189)

Later this week, the House will vote on the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3189).  The bill, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) 78%, would make several important policy changes to improve America’s monetary policy.  

Norbert Michel, The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in financial regulations, explains the four key policy changes that the FORM Act would institute:

Require the Federal Reserve to Operate Under a Rules-Based Framework. Throughout its history, the Fed has operated within a purely discretionary policy framework. Rules-based monetary policy, on the other hand, gives a central bank a clear set of guidelines that credibly commit it to future policy actions. … This approach would greatly reduce uncertainty concerning the Fed’s future policy actions without overly restricting the Fed.

Restrict the Fed’s Emergency Lending Authority. The Fed has a long history of lending to insolvent firms, and the best approach to fixing this problem would be to eliminate the Fed’s emergency lending authority. The FORM Act doesn’t go this far, but it would implement restrictions aimed at making it more difficult to lend to insolvent firms at subsidy rates of interest, a major problem during the 2008 crisis.

Audit the Fed. [T]he Federal Reserve is already subject to financial audits, but the Fed’s monetary policy decisions are off limits to Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits. The FORM Act would remove the restrictions that prevent such GAO audits, thus allowing for a retrospective exam of the Fed’s monetary policy actions.

Establish the Centennial Monetary Commission. The commission’s recommendations would not bind Congress to implement any legislation, but it would provide Members of Congress with information they need to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities for monetary policy.

Michel rightly notes our “financial markets need many more reforms” but the FORM Act is sound policy that deserves support.

Heritage Action supports H.R. 3189 and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

“NO” Highway-Transit Bailout and Export-Import Bank Reauthorization (H.R. 22)

Today, the House began consideration of the Senate-passed Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act (H.R. 22). The House version of this 1,000+ page bill would authorize $325 billion over six years for highway and transit programs, well above the projected revenue coming into the federal Highway Trust Fund.  The bill would also reauthorize the now-defunct Export-Import Bank.

Although the House will substitute highway and transit language drafted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the procedure set up by the House Rules Committee will ensure a long-term reauthorization of the now-expired Export-Import Bank remains in the base text.  The bank is not needed.  Its largest beneficiary – Boeing – is thriving in a post-Ex-Im world.  For example, this summer the aerospace giant signed a 50-plane deal with FedEx, ensuring a steady line of production for its 767 cargo aircraft through FY2023.

“NO” on Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 (H.R. 1314)

Today, the House will vote on the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 (H.R. 1314).  The agreement negotiated by President Obama and  outgoing Speaker John is essentially two bills merged into one: a clean suspension of the debt limit until March 2017 equal to roughly $1.5 trillion and a $112 billion spending increase that busts the heralded 2011 budget caps for the next two years.  Combined, the package represents the very worst of Washington – a last minute deal that increases spending and debt under the auspices of fiscal responsibility.

In recent years, the debt limit has been “suspended” indiscriminately by a Congress that has abandoned responsible budget practices.  Only 28 House Republicans voted for the last clean suspension of the debt ceiling back in February 2014.

The notion that a debt limit increase should not be a routine, inconsequential affair is hardly new. In 1953, a Republican Senate initially denied a debt limit increase requested by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. According to the Public Administration Review, “It signaled the start of a pattern that made debt ceiling legislation a component of the broader efforts by fiscal conservatives to control government spending.”

“NO” on saving the now-defunct Export-Import Bank (H.R. 597)

On Monday, the House will likely vote on a bill to resurrect the now-defunct Export-Import Bank (H.R. 597).  The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) 72%, will come to the floor because Fincher worked directly with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) 12% to bypass the Financial Services Committee and the Rules Committee.  Forty-two House Republicans joined every House Democrat in signing the discharge petition.

The case against the Export-Import Bank is clear.  The bank is simply putting taxpayers at risk and distorting the market to subsidize a handful of multi-billion dollar companies.  Even proponents of the bank acknowledge it does not actually create jobs.  American Action Forum concluded, “Export financing merely redistributes jobs across the economy rather than create more overall jobs.”  The Congressional Research Service explains:

“Subsidizing export financing merely shifts production among sectors within the economy, but does not add to the overall level of economic activity, and subsidizes foreign consumption at the expense of the domestic economy.”

Heritage Action opposes saving the now-defunct Export-Import Bank (H.R. 597) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.