Once again House Republicans prove that they have absolutely no interest in even pretending that they're interested in looking out for the working class as opposed to the 1 percent that are lining their campaign coffers.
Early Friday morning, House Republicans voted down a measure that would have discouraged the government from giving contracts to companies that have committed wage theft.
The Democratic-sponsored amendment to a funding bill would have denied taxpayer money to firms with documented wage violations while under government contract. The idea, championed by members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was to make sure public dollars don't go to companies with low-road labor practices.
The amendment, proposed for the commerce, justice and science appropriations bill, failed by a vote of 196-211. All Democrats who cast votes supported it, while 10 Republicans crossed the aisle to join them.
On the House floor before the vote, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the subcommittee handling the bill, suggested he was surprised by the amendment's introduction late Thursday and urged his colleagues to vote it down out of caution.
"No one knows what the amendment does. If you know what this amendment does, you should vote for it, because nobody else seems to know. That's one of the problems [that] these things come rolling in at 10:15," Wolf said. "I don't know what it does, so I don't want to vote for it. I strongly urge, in the interest of making sure that this place does not mess up, a no vote."
I'd really be shocked if Wolf didn't know what was in the amendment. Maybe someone should have just asked him to read it. Here's more from Ellison's office and the statement he released following the vote.
May 30, 2014
WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after House Republicans voted down an amendment introduced by the CPC to disqualify certain federal contracts to any corporation that committed wage theft or other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Contractors pocket taxpayer money and then commit wage theft by denying workers overtime pay or forcing them to work off the clock. A recent National Employment Law Project (NELP) survey found that 21 percent of federal contract workers surveyed were not paid overtime and 11% have been forced to work ‘off the clock.’ The federal government could lead the way by disqualifying contractors who practice wage theft, but House Republicans voted today against an amendment to do exactly that.
“The failure of this amendment illustrates who Republicans defend. Speaker Boehner refuses to allow a vote to raise the federal minimum wage or renew unemployment insurance. House Republicans have focused relentlessly on taking away affordable health care and investigating Benghazi because they believe that is how they will win November. Unfortunately, working families have been left out of the Republican political strategy.
“Taxpayer money must be spent wisely. As the largest purchaser of goods and services in the nation, the federal government must find a way to make sure funds are going to companies that treat their workers fairly and give American families a chance to succeed.”