Monday, January 10, 2011

It's going to be a long 2 years in Congress

Meet the new boss, Rep. John Kline (D-MN)
Hold on to your hats, brothers and sisters. The new majority in the House of Representatives has changed the name of the House Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to the House Education and the Workforce Committee. According to Kevin Bogardus in The Hill, the change
...shows that a new boss is in town, and one not friendly to unions.
The last time a Republican majority changed the name of the HELP committee, it was not a good omen for working people. Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO's top lobbyist, said,
Not like the old boss, Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
During the [Newt] Gingrich Congress, they used the committee to gut [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration], to weaken overtime laws and undermine the rights of the workers who want to bargain for a better standard of living.
Chuck Loveless, director of legislation at the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said he was concerned
...that the committee is going to pressure the administration to weaken enforcement of labor laws and regulations, whether it’s workplace safety, wage and hour requirements or mine safety.
Already, California Republican Devin Nunes filed a bill that would require state and local pension funds to report their liabilities and forbid the federal government from bailing them out.

It's going to be a VERY long two years.