On The Senate Floor Shaheen Calls For Extension Of Unemployment Insurance (VIDEO)

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Vote on extending unemployment insurance scheduled for this afternoon

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on her colleagues to support an extension of unemployment insurance in a speech on the Senate floor this morning. In her remarks Shaheen highlighted the consequences that the failure to extend unemployment insurance has already had on the economy and Granite State families; to date New Hampshire has lost an estimated $1.8 million worth of economic output as a result of lost emergency benefits.

Senator Shaheen’s remarks as prepared for delivery are included below:

Mr. President, I came to the floor because later today the Senate will vote on a short-term extension of emergency unemployment benefits for the thousands of New Hampshire citizens, over a million throughout the country, who are being hurt right now by the failure of Congress to act.

I have heard from a number of New Hampshire constituents since unemployment insurance expired back in December. They make the case much for eloquently than I can about why we need to extend these unemployment benefits. I want to read some excerpts from some of those letters.

One of my constituents, a 62-year-old woman from Windham, New Hampshire, explained that despite her best efforts, she will be one of the many long term-unemployed without any unemployment benefits if she doesn’t find a job by March.

She began working at age eight delivering papers with her brother, put herself through college, and earned a master’s degree with the help of her employer.  She wrote “I’m not too proud to do any honest job.  I’m losing my house and can’t afford to pay my mortgage any longer.  There are so many of us out there.”

A woman from Windham, New Hampshire wrote to me.  She is 55 years old, and has held a job since she was 16. Last August, she was laid off in a merger, and has been actively seeking a job in her health care field.  She explained that her unemployment check has helped her pay for her essential living expenses.  She and her sister take care of their 90 year-old parents in their home, and this income is critical to their care.

A 58 year-old woman from Merrimack wrote that she lost her job in May 2013, and has had nine interviews, but no offers.  Without unemployment assistance, she will not be able to afford her car payment, her mortgage, or food and utilities.

A constituent wrote to me explaining that after 29 years as a teacher, her job was eliminated.  She has been on unemployment since June, and has applied to nearly 100 jobs. Think about getting up every day trying to figure out where to apply just to have a shot at getting back to work.  Her savings are exhausted and she is on the verge of losing her house since her unemployment benefits – her only source of income- have expired.

She wrote: “This seems unfair to me having worked hard and been a taxpayer into the system all of my working life. I fail to see how not extending benefits will be beneficial to me and the 1.3 million other Americans…especially in light of an already fragile economy.  Please do your best to remember those of us who never planned to have to depend on unemployment for this long but who have fallen victims to these times.”

I did a telephone town hall and heard from thousands of people across New Hampshire. One of the people I heard from was a woman named Kathy from Danbury. She told me that she had worked since she was 14, and she’s now out of a job. Her unemployment benefits have expired, and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

You know, we need to think about Kathy and all of the people who we’re hearing from in our offices. We’re supposed to represent the people who need help across this country. My constituents are exactly right – we are threatening the fragile economic recovery by failing to extend unemployment insurance.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the expiration of unemployment insurance will cost the economy 310,000 jobs.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that each dollar we spend on extending unemployment insurance generates about $1.50 in economic growth.

And we learned this week that failing to act has already drained more than $2.2 billion from the economy, including $1.8 million from New Hampshire.  Not to mention, all of the people whose personal stories are tragic because they want to work. They’re out of a job through no fault of their own, and we need to provide them with some assistance while they try and get back on their feet so they don’t lose their home, so they don’t lose their car, so they can put food on the table.

I urge my colleagues to come together today. It is time for us to act to support an extension of unemployment insurance.  I certainly hope we are going to do that.

I yield the floor.

New Out-Of-Stater Jumps Into The NH U.S. Senate Race

a Mike Morrill for US Senate - Emphasis

New U.S. Senate Candidate Launches Campaign in New Hampshire; Will Challenge Scott Brown, Bob Smith in Republican Primary

a Mike Morrill for US Senate - Emphasis

Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH – A new candidate for New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate race launched his campaign during a press conference at the New Hampshire State House on Monday, January 27th. Michael Morrill announced he is running for United States Senate from the state of New Hampshire, seeking the Republican nomination in the primary. Morrill does not believe the fact that he currently lives in Pennsylvania will be a detriment to his campaign.

“There’s an open seat in the Republican Senate primary and someone has to fill it. Why not me?” Morrill said. “Like Scott Brown and Bob Smith, I see this race as pure opportunity.”

During the press conference Morrill outlined his qualifications to be elected the next U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, and his promises to the people of the state.

“Like Scott Brown, my family and I have strong ties to the Granite State that go back many generations. I have two brothers who live here. My father spent his last years here. I went to Boy Scout camp in Antrim. My mother lives in Amesbury.  I know that’s in Massachusetts, but it’s close enough. In addition, I have found Lost River –on many occasions. My car has climbed Mt. Washington. I have skied Attitash.  Well, I have ridden the alpine slide.”

“But it’s not just my deep New Hampshire roots that have compelled me to seek to become your U.S. Senator.  As I said earlier, this is really about one thing: pure opportunism. And that’s really why I want to be your United States Senator.  Like former Senators Smith and Brown, I’m looking for a cushy job, with lots of travel opportunities, great publicly-funded healthcare and a retirement plan that requires little investment on my part, but produces a retirement income that will make me comfortable in my old age. I promise to visit this great state at least twice a year once elected.”

Granite State Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, arranged the tongue-in-cheek press conference. Michael Morrill is the executive director of Keystone Progress, Granite State Progress’ sister organization in Pennsylvania.

“Morrill’s intent to run for U.S. Senate may not be real, but his New Hampshire credentials are and follow the same logic that Massachusetts’s Scott Brown and former Sen. Bob Smith, most recently of Florida, are using to justify their presence in New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate race,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “New Hampshire voters will choose for themselves who they want to represent them, but let’s not forget that Brown and Smith are jumping into this race out of political opportunity, pure and simple.”

We Can’t Abdicate Trade Policy to Secret Negotiations and Non-Elected Officials

Larry Cohen CWA

Washington, D.C. — In testimony at the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on “Advancing Congress’s Trade Agenda: the Role of Trade Negotiating Authority,” Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America called for a strong and enforceable role for Congress in setting trade policy and priorities.

Last week, legislation calling for “fast track” authorization of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements was introduced.

“Trade agreements are no longer just about tariffs and quotas. They are about the food we eat, the air we breathe, the jobs we hold. We cannot abdicate this process to non-elected representatives. We cannot let foreign policy objectives trump domestic concerns and in the process unravel our own democracy instead of strengthening others,” Cohen said.

“Nor should we abdicate the decision to determine with whom the U.S. should negotiate. Vietnam is a 90 million person nation that is a party to the TPP negotiations.  The minimum wage in Vietnam is 28 cents an hour, and the average hourly wage is 75 cents. Vietnam’s is a record of non-existent workers’ rights and an extensive roster of human rights violations, including the documented use of child labor,” he said.

Cohen was the only witness testifying in opposition to “fast track” authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals. He addressed the issues that a broad coalition of unions, environmental organizations, consumer groups, fair trade advocates and others have joined to work for trade policies that benefit everyone.

“We recognize the reality that we are living in a global economy. Trade policy, done correctly, is a win for the U.S. economy and U.S. workers.

“It is critical that we work to stop the global race to the bottom that has been the result of old-style trade agreements. As a nation, we strive to improve our standard of living and provide a better life for our children and grandchildren. We should not compromise on these values and reduce the quality of life for Americans through our trade policies.” Cohen said.

Congress should establish these priorities for fast track legislation, Cohen said.

1. Document that any new trade deal is not likely to add to the nearly $1 trillion in annual trade deficit in goods. This deficit has increased by five times since we adopted NAFTA.

2. Document the net effect on employment, don’t look only at increases in exports. Each trade deal comes with the promise of job growth, yet the overall impact has been job loss, due to a wave of imports and offshoring.

3. Document the effect on pay and workers’ standard of living. Since NAFTA was negotiated, U.S. wages have stagnated and workers’ weekly take home pay is $100 less than 40 years ago.

4. Ensure that consumer protection regulations by federal, state and local governments are not diminished.

5. Ensure that all trading partners comply with ILO principles and convention. The U.S. has ratified just two of those eight principles that cover workers’ rights, child labor and freedom of association.

6. Ensure that environmental standards are not degraded and are enforceable.

7. Ensure that these social goals are enforceable at least at the same level as all other sections, like patents, investment protection and intellectual property rights.

8. Ensure that Congress plays a meaningful role in setting priorities and limits the authority the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate on basic governance and human rights.


Read the full testimony here: http://www.cwa-union.org/fasttrack-cohen-testimony

Read the executive summary here: http://www.cwa-union.org/fasttrack-cohen-summary

AFL-CIO President Trumka’s Statement On Senate Colture Vote on Unemployment Insurance


Richard_TrumkaLast year, lawmakers appallingly deserted 1.3 million jobless workers and went home for their own holiday without extending unemployment insurance benefits. Today, the Senate took an important step to assist those still searching for work when it cleared the way for a temporary unemployment benefits bill.

Unemployment insurance serves as a lifeline for millions of jobless Americans and their families. For many job seekers, unemployment benefits are the difference between total hopelessness and a place to live and food on the table.

The urgent business before us now is fixing what’s wrong with our economy. Maintaining the unemployment benefits program won’t just keep families out of crisis. It helps to spur the economy and keep it growing.

The Senate should quickly act to pass this bill and the House must act immediately. Further failure will mean more than 3 million more qualified people who will be denied extended benefits. Millions of Americans counting on unemployment insurance to help them through tough times are counting on the House to do the right thing.  We cannot afford to leave any working families behind.

Shaheen Calls For Swift Passage Of The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

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Shaheen: No one should be hired or fired because of sexual orientation or gender identity

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is urging her colleagues to swiftly pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to important protections from workplace discrimination.  In remarks on the Senate floor, Shaheen drew parallels between the struggle for equality during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and similar struggles LGBT Americans are dealing with today.  

Below are Senator Shaheen’s remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Mr. President, almost fifty years ago Congress passed the Civil Rights Act.

This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, and gender in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Most of us in the Senate recall the passage of this legislation.

And many of us saw firsthand painful examples of the legally-sanctioned discrimination that existed before the Civil Rights Act.

My elementary school years were spent in a state where black and white Americans were treated differently under the law.

I can still picture the separate water fountains for blacks and whites. I recall vividly going to the movie theater where black Americans could only sit in the balcony.

These practices were wrong, and they ended only because of the Civil Rights Act.

This week the Senate has the opportunity to extend our national quest for equal opportunity for all by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

This legislation simply prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

I am proud to be a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, just as I was proud as Governor of New Hampshire 16 years ago to sign legislation making New Hampshire only the 10th state to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws.

That state legislation went further than the bill before the Senate this week. It not only covered employment, but housing and public accommodations as well.

Both the New Hampshire senate and house were controlled by Republicans. The bill passed both bodies with large bipartisan majorities. It was not seen as a partisan issue.

Including sexual orientation in New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination laws was just another step forward in our state’s long history of promoting civil rights.

No one should be hired or fired in the United States because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I realize that no law can erase prejudice from someone’s heart. Prejudice will continue to exist after the Employment Non-Discrimination Act becomes law, I know.

That’s not the issue.

The issue is whether it is acceptable as a matter of law in the United States to hire or fire someone because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In declaring our independence from Great Britain, our founders stated “[w]e hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….”

Equality under the law is part of our national creed.

Let’s take another step forward this week in advancing equal opportunity for all.

Let’s pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with a strong bipartisan majority.

Senator Cruz Is Not The Only One Who Wants To Shut Down The Government Over The ACA

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There are a lot of people talking about the upcoming showdown over the Affordable Care Act and the Continuing Resolution to keep the government running.  Without a budget or a Continuing Resolution the government will be forced to close up shop due to lack of funds.

This has been the subject of many previous debates in the last few years.  It seems that every three to six months Congress is threatening to shut down the government if they do not make significant changes.   Obviously this debate goes both ways.

Right now the debate over the Continuing Resolution (CR) has turned to healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act.  The debate over the ACA rages on every day.  Even after the house voted for the 41st time to repeal the ACA it should be obvious that the House is not going to get their way.  That is not stopping them; it is just making them more inventive in their repeal efforts.

The House passed a CR that would keep the government running, except they took out all the funding for the ACA.  They essentially are attempting to defund the ACA and are holding the government hostage to do it.

After they passed the bill it was quickly moved to the Senate.  Then a few Senators took that and ran with it.  Senator Ted Cruz has been all over the news talking about his position to shut the government down if they do not defund the ACA.  Cruz even got up and wasted 21 hours in a pretend filibuster. It was a pretend filibuster because the 21 hours of talking could not have any effect on whether or not a vote is going to be held.  His marathon talking session ended with a unanimous vote (100-0) to end debate and move toward voting on the actual bill.  We should be calling a 21 hour debate speech, because it is by definition not a filibuster.

The irony is that GOP leaders in the House were quick to distance themselves from this scenario.

Rep Peter King (potential GOP candidate for President) said, “He’s not standing on principle, I don’t know what he’s standing on,” King said. “But he’s standing for a strategy that can’t work. It’s going to personally help him as far as his political status, but it’s going to be bad for the county, bad for the Republican Party.”

Wait a second; are they really trying to blame Senator Cruz for holding the country hostage and threatening a government shutdown over the ACA?  Didn’t the bill that Senator Cruz is promoting came from the US House?  That’s right, it did.  Every one of those Reps who voted to repeal the ACA by defunding it, are doing the same thing.  Defund the ACA or we will not pass a CR, which is what you all voted on.

The House was even happy after the passage of the defunding-CR.

The Huffington Post reports, “Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) also took to twitter to vent. “House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court,” he wrote.”

Yet now they want to distance themselves from shutting the government down because the public is adamantly against a shutdown.   The House GOP cannot get away from the fact that they voted to do what Senator Cruz is advocating for.  The House GOP cannot wiggle their way out of this.

Here is the full list of the Representative who would rather shut the government down if the President does not defund his signature bill.   Don’t let them forget it!

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Senate GOP Medicaid Alternative Plan Makes No Sense


Their alternative plan would mean higher costs, lower quality care, and unaffordable coverage

CONCORD – Today, Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen, House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff, and Bi-State Primary Care Association President and CEO Tess Stack Kuenning held a conference call with members of the press to discuss the Senate Republican-endorsed alternative to expanding Medicaid.

The plan that Senate President Chuck Morse praised on Tuesday on behalf of Senate Republicans would turn down federal funds to expand Medicaid, and instead offer those who are below 100% of the federal poverty line (FPL, $11,490 for an individual in 2013) a plan with concierge primary care service and catastrophic coverage.

“This isn’t really a plan at all,” said Senator Larsen. “It would cost our state almost $3 billion more, only covers one quarter of the uninsured people that Medicaid includes, would give very poor coverage to those people, and that poor coverage would cost these folks more than half of their annual income so they could never afford it anyway.”

“So why would we pay much more to cover far fewer people with much worse coverage that they could never even afford?” added Larsen. “It makes no sense.”

Larsen pointed out that whereas expanded Medicaid would save the state about $45 million total between now and the end of 2021, the Senate Republican plan would cost the state $46 million each year, for a total cost of $368 million over the same 10 year period. And at the same time, the state would be foregoing $2.4 billion in federal funds, for a total loss to the state of almost $3 billion under the Senate Republican plan. The state would also lose out on almost $400 million in economic growth and 700 new jobs created under Medicaid expansion.

House Majority Leader Shurtleff noted that expanded Medicaid would cover an estimated 46,200 currently uninsured people, while the Senate Republican plan would cover 11,150 people, about one quarter as many. He also pointed out that the Senate Republican plan would cost people $6,362 out of pocket before they could even access coverage. So with people in this program making a maximum of $11,490 a year, they would be paying 55% of their income for coverage. By contrast, an individual covered under expanded Medicaid would pay no more than $793 a year.

“Does anyone think that someone making under $12,000 a year can afford more than $6,000 a year on health care coverage?” asked Shurtleff. “These are working people. They are people with low incomes. These are wait staff, janitors, school bus drivers, hairstylists, teachers’ aides, grocery store clerks, construction workers, and landscapers. These are taxpayers. They are playing by the rules. And they deserve access to high quality, comprehensive coverage that they can actually afford.”

Bi-State Primary Care Association President and CEO Tess Stack Kuenning explained that the Senate Republican alternative plan combines concierge primary care service with catastrophic coverage, but no other coverage. That covers minor medical needs and acute or emergency needs, but nothing in between. That means there is no coverage for a huge proportion of medical needs and conditions including medications, treatment for many chronic conditions, most mental health conditions, outpatient surgeries, substance abuse treatment, and any other procedures not requiring prolonged hospitalization. This plan is far worse than regular private coverage, Medicaid, or Medicare.

“I can tell you as an advocate for low-income people who need access to health care, this would be very poor, very limited coverage, especially compared to Medicaid,” said Kuenning. “In my experience in this state, Medicaid provides good coverage, good quality of care, and better outcomes for people. That is why my organization and every other provider organization in the state has supported expanded Medicaid as the best way to provide coverage and access for low-income working people. But I see no way that low income working people could afford this coverage, they probably wouldn’t want it, and it wouldn’t help drive down costs or make people significantly healthier in our state.”

“I believe that Senate President Morse is serious about working on this issue and recognizes the challenges we face as a state,” Senator Larsen concluded. “I think when he and his colleagues take a close look at this plan, they will agree that it doesn’t make sense. But we agree with them about finding an approach that works best for New Hampshire. We have supported some of the ideas to bring the private sector into Medicaid including by making it a managed care program, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to find the right approach to bringing in these federal funds, helping our state economy, growing jobs, and giving people access to affordable, high-quality coverage.”

Senator Carper introduces legislation to virtually end the USPS


Democratic Senator Tom Carper has moved the Postal Service one big step closer to extinction this weekend by introducing his new Postal Reform Act S 1486. Mr Carper a long time ally of wealthy corporate interests intends to drive the stake into the heart of the worlds best Postal Service. His bill on many levels closely resembles Congressman Issa’s HR 2748 which passed out of a House committee 10 days ago on a party line vote, with only GOP support.

Carper’s S 1486 will allow the elimination of Saturday delivery in just one year. That itself will put the USPS in a death spiral. Cutting service is clearly not the way to compete in a 21st economy. Cutting 16% of the USPS services to save at most 3% of the budget doesn’t seem to be a rational strategy. Saving any money itself is in question as studies have shown that losing Saturday delivery would reduce mail volume by 7.7% that itself would result in a revenue loss of $5.3 Billion far exceeding the money projected to be saved by cutting a day of delivery.

Other aspects of this bill that would harm the American public is that this bill requires the Postal Service to change your mode of delivery to the deivery mode “that is most cost – effective and in the best long-term interest of the Postal Service” This may save the Postal Service some delivery time but to force elderly people into a situation where it will be difficult for them to retrieve their mail in the harsh winter or sweltering summer is not a matter that a civilized society should put a price on.

This Senate bill also removes safeguards for rural customers that have been in place to guarantee them reasonable access to a post office. There will be no limit on how far you must travel to get to your “local” post office. I guess for Mr Carper being a Senator from Delaware that issue does not resonate with him.

S 1486  makes it easy for the Postal Service to sell historic buildings. This was previously forbidden in past postal reform bills. As we all know the conservatives love the idea of selling off Postal Service assets, it is a long-held dream of the right wing. Key Romney advisor Kevin Hassett outlines the plan: “The Postal Service owns or operates 33,000 facilities nationwide, and owns 219,000 vehicles. If we were to auction it off to private investors, the bids would likely be enormous. FedEx and UPS, for example, have a combined market capitalization of almost $100 billion. Given that, how much might a private bidder offer for the right to start a business with the Postal Service’s footprint? The $100 billion mark might be a good first guess” At least they are not hiding their motives.

S 1486 in tandem with HR 2748 if enacted will seem to put an end to a great American institution for purely ideological reasons. The wealthy could never allow a highly unionized and efficient government institution ( USPS does not use a dime of tax money) like the Postal Service be allowed to thrive. In 2006 Bush inserted a poison pill requiring the USPS to prefund retiree health care costs 75 years into the future over a 10 year period. This resulted in this manufactured crisis that corporate owned politicians seem more than happy to capitalize on to increase profits for their wealthy campaign contributors.

The only losers are ordinary American people whose very popular postal service, with an 83% approval rating, has to be dismantled to be “saved”.


NHLN  Note:
Read the Union Response to this proposed legislation.
Read the LTE in response to this post.

Senate Vote Ensures Continued Labor Law for 80 Million Workers


Washington, DC – Following is a statement by the Democracy Initiative on today’s Senate vote confirming three Democratic members to the National Labor Relations Board. The Democracy Initiative has brought together labor, environmental, civil rights and democracy groups to fight to fix the broken Senate rules, get corporate money out of politics and expand voting rights.

Today’s action by the U.S. Senate means that for the first time in a decade, the National Labor Relations Board will have a Senate-confirmed, fully functioning Board.

The three Democratic members confirmed by the Senate today are Mark Pearce, Nancy Schiffer, and Kent HIrozawa. The Senate quickly confirmed Republicans Harry Johnson and Phil Miscimarra.

Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen said today’s Senate action is “long overdue. President Obama began his second term without a Democratic majority on the NLRB, and for workers that has meant continued delay in workplace justice, whether to enforce their bargaining rights or protect them from an employer’s illegal action. Today’s Senate action is a step toward justice for 80 million private sector workers.”

Nearly all Senate Democrats stood strong to force the Republican minority to stop the obstruction that kept too many of the President’s executives nominations waiting for Senate action for as long as two years.  That means that this Labor Day, 80 million workers will continue to have the protections of federal law and that the only agency that can enforce workplace rights will be fully functional.

The Democracy Initiative, founded by CWA, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and NAACP, now includes 60 like-minded organizations committed to stopping the abuse of Senate rules, ending corrupting influence of corporate money in politics and turning around the attack on voter rights.

These issues are linked. We are a nation with the lowest voter registration level at just 70 percent, the lowest collective bargaining rate at just 11 percent and the highest rate of corporate spending in our election process. Members of the Democracy Initiative know that Americans are up against a right-wing agenda of no voting rights, no bargaining rights and no limits on corporate spending in our democratic process. That’s the fight we’re in to win.

BREAKING: Senator Chris Murphy Introduces ‘Buy America’ Amendment In Senate

senator chris murphy

senator chris murphy

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) is leading the charge to reinvest in American manufacturing.  Previously Senator Murphy talked about how we need to change our policy to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent on products made right here at home.  His Buy America campaign started when he was a Rep in the US House and continues to move forward as a Senator.

Senator Chris Murphy  will today propose an amendment to S.1243, the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act, that will require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to assess the impact on American jobs before issuing a waiver to the Buy America provision in federal procurement laws.

Murphy will call up the amendment on the floor of the Senate just after 12:30pm.

“Making critical long-term investments in our infrastructure should create jobs in America, not overseas,” said Murphy. “This is simple: our roads and bridges need work, and so do workers and companies across Connecticut and the country. Waivers and loopholes in our Buy America laws cost jobs, and at the very least, DOT should precisely account for how many American jobs their waiver decisions will cost.”

Currently, the bill states that the Secretary of Transportation may issue a waiver to the Buy America provisions in this bill and in current law.  Before issuing a waiver, the Secretary must solicit public comment and report to Congress on the use of Buy America waivers.

Murphy’s amendment would require that, prior to issuing a waiver, in addition to the public comment period, the Department must also assess the waiver’s impact on American jobs.

UPDATED to add video of speech