Full Text Political Headlines August 3, 2013: Sen. Susan Collins on How Obamacare Will Impact Jobs



GOP Weekly Address: Sen. Collins on How Obamacare Will Impact Jobs

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-3-13

US Senate

In this week’s Republican address, Sen. Susan Collins warns workers about the potential impact of Obamacare on their jobs and wages.  Under the Affordable Care Act, she says, anyone working an average of 30 hours a week is considered a full-time employee, which means many employers may cut employees’ hours….READ MORE

Read the full text of this week’s Republican address:

“Hello.  I’m Senator Susan Collins from Maine.

“My family founded a small business in northern Maine more than 160 years ago.  Today, it continues to be run by two of my brothers.

“Our economy is built on millions of enterprises just like ours.  It’s not easy to survive in today’s economy.  But these employers remain our nation’s job creators.  We should be doing all we can to promote policies to help them survive and thrive.

“Effective health-care reform should provide Americans with access to quality and affordable care while also encouraging economic growth.  That’s not what is happening under Obamacare.

“Instead, Obamacare is actually discouraging small businesses from creating jobs and hiring new employees.  The law also has perverse incentives for employers to reduce the number of hours that their employees can work.

“While most small business owners want to provide health insurance for their employees, many simply cannot afford to under Obamacare.  Yet, even struggling businesses with 50 or more “full-time” employees will be required to provide health insurance or face huge fines for each employee.  If you employ 49 workers, there are no fines.  But, if you add just one more employee, you’re hit with penalties.

“These enormous penalties are a real threat to employers who want to add jobs.  They are a powerful incentive for employers to refrain from hiring additional workers.  Even worse, under Obamacare, anyone working an average of just 30 hours a week is considered “full-time.”  This will only cause some businesses to reluctantly reduce the hours of their workers to fewer than 30 hours per week.

“And, it’s not just the private sector that is affected.  Let me give you an example.  A school system in my state of Maine is already preparing to track and cap the number of hours that substitute teachers can work to ensure that they don’t work more than 29 hours a week.  Fewer hours means less money in the teachers’ paychecks and more disruption for their students.

“Recently, labor leaders, led by Teamsters President James Hoffa, warned that Obamacare will – and I quote – destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class. – end quote –.

“They are right to be worried:  In the past, most new jobs were full-time.  But, this year, the overwhelming majority of new jobs are part-time.

“Under this troubling trend, more workers will find their hours and their earnings reduced.  Jobs will be lost.  This is especially disturbing as our country is still battling high unemployment.

“A study published by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, underscores the danger. That study found that 10 million American workers are vulnerable to having their hours cut as a direct result of Obamacare.  10 million workers!  And the most vulnerable are lower-income employees.

“In an effort to protect these millions of workers, I’ve introduced a bipartisan bill called the “Forty Hours is Full Time Act.” My bill would change the definition of “full-time employee” in Obamacare from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week.  A 40-hour work week is full-time; we all know that.  This bill is just common sense.

“Now, the Obama Administration has announced that it is delaying enforcement of the employer mandate until 2015. But, the fact is, the law remains in place and continues to discourage new jobs and full-time work.

“Of course, fixing this one flaw won’t solve the countless problems caused by Obamacare.  But it would help ensure that millions of American workers do not have their hours, and their paychecks, reduced.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy. The last thing we need is yet another obstacle to helping them grow and create much-needed jobs.”


Full Text Obama Presidency August 3, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address: Pitching a ‘Grand Bargain’ for the Middle Class



Obama’s Weekly Address: Pitching a ‘Grand Bargain’ for the Middle Class

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Highlighting his new “grand bargain” offer to Republicans, President Obama says his plan to couple corporate tax reform with investments in programs to create middle class jobs has the potential to break through the “Washington logjam.”…READ MORE

Weekly Address: Securing a Better Bargain for the Middle Class

Source: WH, 8-3-13

In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that his plan for creating a better bargain for the middle class builds on the progress we’ve made, fighting our way back from the worst economic recession of our lifetimes. The President underscored the need for Congress to end the logjam in Washington and act on his plan that strengthens the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America: a good job, a home that is your own, affordable health care, and a secure retirement.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
August 3, 2013

Hi, everybody.  This week, I went down to an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee to talk more about what we need to do to secure a better bargain for the middle class – to make sure that anyone who works hard can get ahead in the 21st century economy.

Over the past four and a half years, we’ve fought our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes and begun to lay a foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth.  Today, our businesses have created 7.3 million new jobs over the last 41 months.  We now sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before.  Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years, and our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.

But as any middle-class family will tell you, we’re not where we need to be yet.  Even before the crisis hit, we were living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, while most families were working harder and harder just to get by.

Reversing this trend must be Washington’s highest priority.  It’s certainly mine.  But too often over the past two years, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.  They’ve allowed an endless parade of political posturing and phony scandals to distract from growing our economy and strengthening the middle class.

That’s why I’m laying out my ideas for how we can build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America.  A good education.  A home of your own.  Health care when you get sick.  A secure retirement even if you’re not rich.  And the most important cornerstone of all: a good job in a durable, growing industry.

When it comes to creating more good jobs that pay decent wages, the problem is not a lack of ideas.  Plenty of independent economists, business owners and people from both parties agree on what we have to do.  I proposed many of these ideas two years ago in the American Jobs Act.  And this week, I put forward common-sense proposals for how we can create more jobs in manufacturing; in wind, solar and natural gas; and by rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

What we’re lacking is action from Washington.  And that’s why, in addition to proposing ideas that we know will grow our economy, I’ve also put forward a strategy for breaking through the Washington logjam – a “grand bargain” for the middle class.

I’m willing to work with Republicans to simplify our tax code for businesses large and small, but only if we take the money we save by transitioning to a simpler tax system and make a significant investment in creating good, middle-class jobs.  We can put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our infrastructure.  We can boost manufacturing, so more American companies can sell their products around the world.  And we can help our community colleges arm our workers with the skills they need in a global economy – all without adding a dime to the deficit.

I’ll keep laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot in the 21st century, and I’ll keep reaching out to Republicans for theirs.  But gutting critical investments in our future and threatening national default on the bills that Congress has already racked up – that’s not an economic plan.  Denying health care to millions of Americans, or shutting down the government just because I’m for keeping it open – that won’t help the middle class.

The truth is, there are no gimmicks when it comes to creating jobs.  There are no tricks to grow the economy.  Reversing the long erosion of middle-class security in this country won’t be easy.  But if we work together and take a few bold steps – and if Washington is willing to set aside politics and focus on what really matters – we can grow our economy and give the middle class a better bargain.  And together, we can make this country a place where everyone who works hard can get ahead.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.


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