By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
With so many negative reports hitting the media and the airwaves chronicling the antics of the ersatz president
a/k/a the predator-in-chief, I feel the need to give a balanced view of what our elected officials are doing to
counter- act his madness.
So many perjoratives have been swirling around about our Congressional Black Caucus members, and
Congress in general, it's important to know what they are saying and doing to try to stem the onslaught
launched against us by T-Rump and the repuglycon party.
It's also informative and constructive for us to keep abreast of what our legislators are doing and saying, because
it's up to us to back them in their efforts.
This is a round up of some of the most recent commentaries and press releases I've received from National
and local legislators in reference to T-Rump and his new "laws" and their impact on WE THE PEOPLE.
This is just a sample of some of the letters received from the Congressmembers - I will share more as I receive
Feel free to reach out to these legislators and offer your services as well as your commentary, concerns and
recommendations going forward.
Stay Blessed &
Scott, Committee Democrats Urge Senate to Fully Account for Puzder’s Business Record
WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), and other Committee on the
Education and the Workforce Democrats sent a letter to the leaders on the Senate Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, urging them to conduct a complete and thorough
investigation of Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor.
In light of Mr. Puzder’s past statements and business practices, there are serious concerns about
whether he would fulfill this critical mission if confirmed as Labor Secretary.
“Mr. Puzder’s restaurants have repeatedly been found in violation of the very workplace laws
that, as Secretary of Labor, he would be charged with enforcing,” the Members wrote.
“In the past seven years, the Department of Labor has found wage and hour
violations in 60 percent of its investigations of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants.
CKE franchise restaurants have also been found in violation of the Occupational
Safety and Health Act (OSHA). In fact, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s restaurants have
been found in violation of OSHA rules 87 times in the past sixteen years. If
confirmed, Mr. Puzder will lead the agency charged with enforcing many of our
nation’s workplace laws—the same agency that found his companies to be
frequent violators of health and safety and wage and hour laws.”
The members urge Senate leaders to insist that Mr. Puzder fully account for the working
conditions in his own restaurants, and explain how he plans to protect American workers
from exploitation and abuse, prior to voting on his nomination.
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray,
We write to urge you to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of Andrew Puzder,
President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Labor, before holding a
vote on his nomination. The Department of Labor’s mission is: “To foster, promote, and
develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve
working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related
benefits and rights.” In light of Mr. Puzder’s past statements and business practices, we have
concerns about whether he would fulfill this critical mission if confirmed as Secretary of Labor.
Mr. Puzder’s restaurants have repeatedly been found in violation of the very workplace laws
that, as Secretary of Labor, he would be charged with enforcing. In the past seven years, the
Department of Labor has found wage and hour violations in 60 percent of its investigations of
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants. CKE franchise restaurants have also been found in violation
of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). In fact, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s restaurants
have been found in violation of OSHA rules 87 times in the past sixteen years. If confirmed,
Mr. Puzder will lead the agency charged with enforcing many of our nation’s workplace laws—
the same agency that found his companies to be frequent violators of health and safety and wage
and hour laws.
A new study also found that during Mr. Puzder’s tenure as CEO of CKE Restaurants, Carl’s Jr.
and Hardee’s have been subject to more employment discrimination lawsuits than any other
major U.S. hamburger chain. Of the lawsuits examined by the study’s authors, many were
settled on confidential terms that prohibited workers from discussing their claims.
We urge this Committee to question Mr. Puzder about his willingness to continue the robust
enforcement necessary to protect American workers from wage theft, on the job
injuries, and workplace discrimination. Mr. Puzder’s track record raises serious questions
about whether he would carry out these responsibilities robustly or fairly.
As a CEO in an industry that pays workers some of the lowest wages in the nation,
Mr. Puzder has opposed a meaningful increase in the federal minimum wage. He has also
opposed updates to the overtime rules to restore the traditional forty hour workweek and give
more workers the right to earn overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week.
Mr. Puzder has claimed that some low-wage jobs do not “… produce enough economic value
to bear [a minimum wage] increase…” We urge you to ask Mr. Puzder what he would do to
help raise the pay for America’s workforce.
Prior to voting on his nomination, we urge you to insist that Mr. Puzder fully account for the
working conditions in his own restaurants, and explain how he plans to protect American
workers from exploitation and abuse.
How Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Threatens the Health and
Economic Security of Working Families
The report, Accessible, Affordable Health Care – A Right, Not A Privilege: How Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Threatens the Health and Economic Security of Working Families, highlights ten of the most important ways the ACA has improved the lives of hardworking Americans and their families. The report also illustrates why efforts to repeal the ACA are dangerous for working people.
Democrats in Congress remain committed to full implementation of the ACA and have offered ways to improve the law, including increasing quality of care and making health services even more affordable for America’s working families.
1. Strengthening Health Coverage Rights and Protections for Working Families
o Under the ACA, working people are now safeguarded from incurring unreasonable out-of-pocket expenses, which can be financially crippling for many families, especially those struggling to make ends meet while recovering from a major health issue.
o Repeal of the ACA would leave working people susceptible to paying unlimited costs for health care.
2. Putting Money Back into the Pockets of Working People
o Thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, Americans have already saved $9 billion dollars in the form of rebates from insurance companies.
o Repeal would take us back to the days when insurers spent a huge chunk of premiums on CEO bonuses, instead of working families’ health care.
3. Enabling Financial Security for Young Workers
o The ACA has made it possible for 6.1 million young adults to obtain or remain on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26.
o Repeal limits options for young people, which could put their health, finances, and even their careers at risk.
4. Controlling Health Insurance Costs for Working Families
o While the cost of health insurance has continued to increase, since the enactment of the ACA, the rate of growth in premiums for job-based coverage has gone up by less than half the rate that it was before the law was enacted.
o Repeal threatens the progress made in controlling the cost of health insurance, increasing the number of uninsured and escalating the cost of uncompensated care.
5. Creating a Healthier Workforce
o By increasing access to preventive care, the ACA decreases the likelihood of disability, and individuals who are healthier enjoy increased productivity on the job, generating higher incomes for themselves and their families.
o Repeal puts the health of the American workforce at risk.
6. Helping Working People Afford Coverage
o The ACA Marketplace creates additional options for workers and their families to afford coverage. It also encourages job mobility and entrepreneurship.
o Repeal would collapse the Marketplace and financial assistance for individuals and families, taking away affordable health care options from workers.
Prepared by the Democratic Staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) | February 2017
7. Improving the Quality of Coverage for Families
o In order to keep people healthier, the ACA created health care quality improvement programs, including programs aimed at preventing costly, unnecessary, and avoidable hospital readmissions.
o Repeal places unnecessary financial stress on working families by gambling with their health and the health of their family members.
8. Creating More Job Flexibility
o Thanks to the ACA, the problem of “job-lock,” has improved significantly because workers have health care options outside of their employers through the Marketplaces.
o Repeal robs workers of the freedom and flexibility to make choices based on what is best for their careers and families.
9. Improving Health Benefits for our Nation’s Coal Miners
o Before the ACA, many deserving miners who applied for black lung benefits were denied benefits due to the high burden of proof.
o Repeal jeopardizes the health and financial benefits owed to ill coal miners and their survivors.
10. Creating a Better Economy for Working People
o Despite the abundance of doomsday predictions about the ACA’s impact on jobs and the labor market, the ACA has had a positive effect on jobs and the economy.
o Repeal threatens jobs in every state and every Congressional district.
Scott, Polis Condemn Republican Action to Hurt Students, Schools
WASHINGTON – Congressmen Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the Committee on
Education and the Workforce, and Jared Polis (CO-02), ranking member of the Early Childhood,
Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, issued the following statements after House
Republicans moved to cancel meaningful rules that would guide states and districts on how to carry out the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
“Today, House Republicans are trying to repeal the ESSA regulations that are supported by state
and district leaders, civil rights groups, parents and educators,” said Scott. “ESSA allows
unprecedented state and local flexibility that comes with vital federal protections for vulnerable
students. Today’s resolution to disapprove these consensus regulations is a rebuke of the
bipartisan promise we made when President Obama signed the bill into law. States and districts
need clarity and consistency provided by regulation to move forward with faithful implementation
that meets the needs of all students. However, just yesterday, the Department of Education removed all ESSA technical assistance for states from being publicly available, and approval of the resolution will
only leave states and districts further confused about how to comply with the law’s safeguards.
Despite the efforts of Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration to make implementation of the bipartisan ESSA a political issue, the Administration must uphold the true bipartisan intent of
ESSA and the longstanding civil rights legacy of this landmark law.”
“The Republicans’ decision to dismantle a key part of the Every Student Succeeds Act today is
shortsighted, nonsensical, and would force educators and states to throw out months of hard
work and replace it with massive uncertainty,” Polis said. “For months, stakeholders have been
working tirelessly to prepare for implementation of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act and
help students achieve. This move undermines all of that work. If passed, these rule changes would
overturn the final accountability rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act and could prevent the
Department of Education from writing a much-needed accountability regulation ever again. It would
leave states and districts blind to how they should implement this key provision of the law. Every
educator, parent, student, and anyone who cares about our public schools and wants to make the
new law work should be deeply alarmed by House Republicans’ actions today.”
Scott, DeFazio Denounce New Legislation That Attacks Working Families
Congressmen Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Peter DeFazio (OR-04), the Ranking
Members of the Committees on Education and the Workforce and Transportation and Infrastructure,
respectively, issued the following statement after the introduction of H.R. 744, the so-called National Right to Work Act. These committees have jurisdiction over the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway
“This legislation clearly has one purpose: to undermine the capacity of unions to protect workers
and defund them. This bill is a direct attack on workers and their families, by weakening unions’
ability to collectively bargain and negotiate for good wages and benefits. Studies show that
diminishing unions leads to lower wages and salaries for union and non-union workers alike.
This is why wages are lower in so-called right to work (RTW) states than those that are not, costing
families up to thousands of dollars each year.
“Under federal law, no one can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment, and the
Supreme Court has made clear that workers cannot be forced to pay dues that are used for political
purposes. The RTW bill is a backdoor attempt at bankrupting labor unions, forcing them to provide
services for people who do not pay dues.
have a job or be provided employment. And while states are permitted to pass such anti-union
legislation, this radical bill would create an unfunded federal mandate that overrides a state’s
wishes by requiring private labor organizations to support free riders without limitation. This bill is
nothing more than a gift to anti-worker special interests.”
Congressman Dwight Evans commentary on The Challenges We Face
As an American, I am proud to live in a country where liberty, equality and diversity are core American values -- it’s what our country was founded on. But for President Trump, that doesn’t look like the case, and his executive order halting immigrants and refugees from entering the country is unfathomable.
Yesterday, acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates stood up to Trump’s unlawful ban -- and for that she was relieved from her post -- but she represents the growing sentiment of the American people who are resisting President Trump’s divisive and un-American orders.
Throughout American history, our country has opened its arms to those seeking a better life, refuge, and a new beginning -- we are a country that was founded by immigrants. So, for President Trump to say no to refugees and others, means he’s saying no to all Americans -- and like Sally, I won’t stand by quietly.
This weekend, I had the honor of standing with Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney, Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Robert Brady, and citizens from across the state at the Philadelphia International Airport to defend immigrants and refugees from across the world. And together, citizens and policymakers across the nation are joining forces to stand up to Trump’s actions.
Right now we are witnessing dangerous actions coming from the highest office in our government -- and we all need to unite and fight back. Add your name and take a stand against President Trump’s ban.
I can’t imagine what it would be like after years of completing the immigration process, traveling thousands of miles to finally be with family members, only to be detained, held, and turned back. No one should have to experience this and Trump's order undermines everything that America stands for as a nation.
We must not extinguish the hopes of those who wish to seek a better life and become a citizen, just the same as immigrants and refugees before them -- and no one should be punished for standing up for them and our American values. Add your name today:
Our fight continues, but together we will all succeed.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's Commentary on T-Rump's Immigration Policies
William Penn arrived here on a ship called the "Welcome" and established a colony with the values of tolerance and inclusion as the keystones to its foundation. He envisioned this land as a place where families of all faiths could come to create a better future for their children.
And the United States, established by the signing of the constitution here in Pennsylvania, was set up as a country where people could escape oppression.
So when members of Dr. Ghassan Assali and Sarmad Assali's family were denied entry at Philadelphia International Airport because of President Donald Trump's ban affecting green card holders, refugees, and visitors from certain Muslim-majority countries, I was outraged.
One of Mrs. Assali's brothers is a 25-year veteran of the United States Army. He fought in Desert Storm. Dr. Assali's brother, sister-in-law, and four other family members worked for an immigration visa for 13 years, and they had finally completed the long journey from Syria. Dr. Assali and his wife remodeled a house for the six relatives to move into Saturday, and had been planning a big dinner for the family in Allentown.
But on Saturday, President Trump's illegal travel ban caused the six of them to be sent back on 18-hour flight. Ghassan and Sarmad have done great things in Allentown for Pennsylvania and I think it's a dark day for all of us that their family was treated this way by our government.
If you're with me, stand up for the values upon which Pennsylvania and our country were founded -- sign the petition to overturn President Trump's order, and fight for families like the Assalis.
This past weekend, I joined Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Bob Brady, Congressman Dwight Evans, and thousands of protesters at Philadelphia International Airport to voice my opposition to the ban. After hearing about how Dr. Assali's family members were sent back, I met with his family and held a press conference with them so the world could hear their story.
Since then, I've worked with Attorney General Josh Shapiro to fight for the Assali family and any Pennsylvania families who may be affected. Attorney General Shapiro has since gotten 16 other attorneys general from states across the country to sign on to a letter questioning the constitutionality of what the president did. I applaud Attorney General Shapiro and his fellow attorneys general.
While civil rights lawyers around the country have already won victories in federal court overturning or staying parts of President Trump's order, this fight isn't over. Too many still face the risk of being denied entry simply because of their nationality and religion.
We must reclaim our Pennsylvanian and American values -- and to do that, I need to you standing with me to oppose President Trump's order. Add your name to the petition:
NOW THAT YOU KNOW,
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
STAY BLESSED & ECLECTICALLY BLACK