Mary Fallin on Jobs
Fallin signed Senate Bill 1023 that prevents the increase. It appears to have shuttered efforts to circulate an initiative petition to increase the rate.
President Barack Obama has advocated for increasing the rate to $10.10 an hour. Fallin issued a statement saying Obama's plan ignores economic reality: "President Obama and the Democratic Party believe that on this issue, like on so many others, the government can just mandate prosperity and growth with no consideration of economic reality. Obama and his Oklahoma surrogates say they want to raise the minimum wage to reduce poverty. They are ignoring the fact that most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part time or entry level jobs." Mandating an increase would result in lost jobs, she said.
The Senate had an amendment on the floor to put the issue of Right to Work to a vote of the people, and the Senate got into a big fight. And I got a phone call from one of the senators, saying, "You know, constitutionally you have the power to go up and sit in the Senate chair and take over the Senate. It's never been done, but you do have that power to do that. We think you should come back and take over the Senate." And it was an opposite political party that was in control, and so I said, "Sure, I'll do that. I believe in what we're trying to accomplish here."
We have also restored fiscal stability to state government. In January 2011, we had $2.03 in our Rainy Day Fund. Today, we are approaching a record high of over $600 million. We achieved these results by prioritizing our spending, promoting pro-business policies and lowering taxes. Oklahoma's state government has helped our economy to flourish--setting the stage for the job creation and family income growth that has now finally restored the state's economy to 2008, pre-recession job levels.
Barriers to growth also include excessive workers compensation costs. For decades, out-of-control workers' compensation costs have been a burden on those doing business in Oklahoma. While recent reforms have effectively worked to reduce the total costs of claims, more needs to be done. I am committed to working with the House and Senate to pursue additional reforms that lower costs for businesses while treating injured workers fairly.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:
Rep. CHARLES RANGEL (D, NY-15): The House, for weeks, has attempted to save the free world from a fiscal disaster. We have bailed out the banks and those who held mortgages. At the same time, we provided for energy extensions, we provided tax breaks for those people that tax provisions have expired. We provided for hurricane relief, for mental health. So over $1 trillion is out there for this House to ease the pain of millions of Americans.
While we were dealing with these gigantic powers, we overlooked the fact that over the last 12 months the number of unemployed workers has jumped by over 2 million, leaving 10 million Americans struggling for work. These are hardworking people that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Rep. JERRY WELLER (R, IL-11): This important legislation provides additional needed assistance to the long-term unemployed. It's important that we pass this legislation today as our last act before we leave for the election campaign.
This legislation focuses the most additional benefits on workers and States where the unemployment rate is highest and where jobs are hardest to find. This program continues the requirement that those benefiting from extended unemployment benefits had to have worked at least 20 weeks. Americans were rightly concerned about proposals to eliminate that work requirement and allow 39 weeks or, under the legislation before us today, as many as 59 weeks of total unemployment benefits to be paid to those who have previously only worked for a few weeks.
Opponent's argument to vote No:None voiced.
Congressional Summary: Provides for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through FY2012. Revises agricultural and related programs, including provisions respecting:
This bill lacks fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase. It is inconsistent with our trade objectives of securing greater market access for American farmers. [Hence] I must veto H.R. 6124.
Proponents argument for voting YEA: We had a meeting this morning with the Secretary of Agriculture to talk about implementation. So [despite the two vetoes], the work has been going on within the department of agriculture to get ready for implementation.
This is a good bill. It has wide support in the Congress. It does address all of the issues that have been brought to the Agriculture Committee.
Proponents support voting YES because:
The principle at stake here is the freedom that all workers should have to organize for better working conditions & fair wages. There are many employers around the country who honor this freedom. Unfortunately, there are also many employers who do not. These employers attempt to prevent workers from unionizing by using tactics that amount to harassment, if not outright firing. In fact, one in five people who try to organize unions are fired. These tactics are already illegal, but the penalties are so minor, they are not effective deterrents.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Democracy itself is placed at risk by this bill. The sanctity of the secret ballot is the backbone of our democratic process. Not one voter signed a card to send us here to Congress. None of us sent our campaign workers out to voters' houses armed with candidate information & a stack of authorization cards. No. We trusted democracy. We trusted the voters to cast their ballots like adults, freely, openly, without intimidation, and we live with the results. But here we are, poised to advance legislation to kill a secret ballot process.
Let's be clear. Every American has the right to organize. No one is debating that. This is a right we believe in so strongly we have codified it and made it possible for workers to do so through a secret ballot.
Proponents support voting YES because:
We have waited for over 10 years to have a clean vote on the minimum wage for the poorest workers in this country Low-wage workers had their wages frozen in time, from 10 years ago, but when they go to the supermarket, the food prices are higher; when they put gasoline in the car, the gasoline prices are higher; when they pay the utility bills, the utility bills are higher; when their kids get sick, the medical bills are higher. All of those things are higher. They are living in 2007, but in their wages they are living in 1997.
Opponents support voting NO because:
This bill is marked more by what is not in the bill than what is in it. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create two-thirds of our Nation's new jobs, and they represent 98% of the new businesses in the US. What protection does this bill provide them? None whatsoever.
We can do better. In the interest of sending the President a final measure that provides consideration for small businesses and their workers, the very men and women who are responsible for our economy's recent growth and strength, we must do better.
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