Co-Sponsorship of the Employee Rights Act (S.1874)

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:

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

The Senate will vote on the House-passed 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.”

“YES” on Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act (S. 2146)

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act (S. 2146).  Introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) 84%, the legislation would hold sanctuary cities accountable for defying federal law by denying certain federal grants to those jurisdictions, including Community Development Block Grants.  The bill would also “increase penalties for individuals who illegally reenter the United States after being removed and to provide liability protection for State and local law enforcement who cooperate with Federal law enforcement.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky explains that “Sanctuary cities are not only perilous to the lives and safety of innocent Americans, they are violating federal immigration law.”  He continues:

“8 U.S.C. §1373 bans state and local governments from prohibiting or restricting law enforcement or other government officials from sending or receiving information from the federal government on the ‘citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.’  But the Obama administration, in accordance with its general nonenforcement policy on immigration, announced in 2010 that it would not sue sanctuary cities. It even terminated the federal Secure Communities Program that gave local jurisdictions the ability to check whether individuals they arrested were in the United States illegally.”

The Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act (S. 2146) would provide a real measure of accountability to jurisdictions flaunting federal immigration law.

Heritage Action supported S. 2146 and included it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

“NO” on CR that Funds Planned Parenthood (H.R. 719)

In the next few days, the Senate will likely consider a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government’s discretionary operations until December 11, 2015.  That bill will also continue taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, an organization that will commit more than 70,000 abortions between now and December 11.  Planned Parenthood has been accused of manipulating abortion procedures to secure higher prices for the sale of baby parts from aborted children.

“YES” on 5-month Abortion Ban (H.R. 36) (Senate)

On Tuesday, the Senate will hold an important procedural vote on the House-passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) 84%. This legislation will protect unborn children by preventing abortions five months after fertilization, at which time scientific evidence suggests the child can feel pain.

The United States is one of only seven countries in which elective, late-term abortions are legal, putting us in the same company as North Korea, China and Vietnam. Last year Quinnipiac  found that 60 percent of Americans support a five-month ban, including 56 percent of Independents and nearly half of Democrats. Moreover, a 2013 survey conducted by the Washington Post revealed that 60 percent of women support this limitation as well.