Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) delivered the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, opposing the Democrat’s Fiscal Year 2022 Education and Labor budget reconciliation package:
“In their reporting on the Democrats’ socialist spending bill, the New York Times said it would [quote] ‘touch virtually every American’s life, from conception to aged infirmity.’ [end quote]
“I would take that statement a step further and say that the Amendment in Nature of a Substitute will touch every American’s life even before conception, because our children’s children will be on the hook for Democrat’s irresponsible spending with the destructive Biden inflation.
“Ranking Member Foxx touched on the hardships the Biden administration’s inflation crisis has placed on Americans and I echo her call for an end of what is already the highest sustained spending level in American history. With $780 billion that we simply do not have, Democrats on this Committee want to turn American values on top of their head.
“The United States is one of the best places in the world to start a business. Republicans value entrepreneurship and the free market system. Democrats want to put private business, out of business. For example, the Democrat ANS includes provisions that would hike monetary Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties for private businesses by 512 percent, as Mrs. Foxx presented.
“To be clear, Committee Republicans do not condone employers that violate important labor laws, and we have always supported the authority of OSHA to hold bad actors accountable through enforcement and existing monetary penalties.
“But the Democrats’ proposals unnecessarily put a target on the backs of business owners to appease their Big Labor allies. The bill continues to go after business owners, particularly small business owners, by handing the Labor Department, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a whopping $2.6 billion in additional funding for overzealous and burdensome enforcement and regulatory activity that will discourage innovation and destroy jobs, increasing Biden inflation.
“The Democrat ANS also copies from the PRO Act and significantly expands liabilities and hikes penalties for unfair labor practices committed by employers under the National Labor Relations Act. Importantly, it does not similarly expand liabilities or increase penalties for unions or their executives.
“This is yet another example of how specific provisions of the bill are one-sided and more about the power of union bosses than about the rights of workers.
“Republicans believe employees should have the right to choose whether to join a union, free from intimidation or coercion.
“Unfortunately, Democrats only seem to follow this principle when it comes to unlawful actions by employers, while union bosses are let off the hook.
“Job creators are not the only losers in this budget. It enables the federal government to assume responsibility for decisions traditionally made by states, localities, families, and individuals.
“More government oversight, less freedom. That is the Democrat proposal here. So is throwing money at a problem and calling it a solution.
“Democrats have correctly identified several key issues. We need to improve our workforce development programs. We need to improve higher education. We need our children to be healthy. But their answer to each of these issues is more untargeted funding, more regulation, and no substantive change, destroying jobs and increasing the Biden inflation.
“This bill contains almost $75 billion for workforce development without making any of the necessary improvements to the current structure.
“We have to stop falling back on government spending as the answer to every problem. Our workforce development system needs improvement, which is why we are working on a bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act reauthorization. Our students need better outcomes when they graduate colleges and stronger vocational education outlets. These issues have no place in the budget reconciliation process and certainly have no business being addressed in this partisan manner.
“As a nation, American families cannot afford a 12-figure payout of liberal special interests. Our values, freedoms, and livelihoods are at stake. I strongly urge opposition to this Amendment in Nature of a Substitute and urge my colleagues to vote no.”
-House Education & Labor GOP