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Steve Kagen on Jobs

Democrat


Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks.

Congressional Summary:Revises the formula for Tier-1 amounts a state credits to an applicant's emergency unemployment compensation account. Increases the figures in the formula from 50% to 80% of the total amount of regular compensation ; and from 13 to 20 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount.

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.

Reference: Unemployment Compensation Extension Act; Bill HR.6867 ; vote number 2008-H683 on Oct 3, 2008

Voted YES on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation:This bill was vetoed twice! Congress passed an identical bill in May, which Pres. Bush vetoed. Congress then discovered that a clerical error. A replacement bill was passed; then vetoed again by the President; an H.R. 2419, did not include the title III (trade) provisions that are in this bill. In passing H.R. 6124, the Congress had an opportunity to improve on H.R. 2419 by modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions [but did not].
Reference: Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; Bill HR6124 ; vote number 2008-417 on Jun 18, 2008

Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing.

    To enable employees to form & join labor organizations, and to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts. Requires investigation that an employer:
    1. discharged or discriminated against an employee to discourage membership in a labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge employees in the exercise of guaranteed collective bargaining rights; and
    3. adds to remedies for such violations: back pay plus liquidated damages; and additional civil penalties.

    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.

    Reference: The Employee Free Choice Act; Bill H R 800 ; vote number 2007-118 on Mar 1, 2007

    Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.

    Increase the federal minimum wage to:
    1. $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment;
    2. $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and
    3. $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

    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.

    Reference: Fair Minimum Wage Act; Bill HR 2 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-018 on Jan 10, 2007

    Form unions by card-check instead of secret ballot.

    Kagen signed H.R.1409&S.560

    Amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check) and there is no other individual or labor organization currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit.

      Requires that priority be given to any charge that, while employees were seeking representation by a labor organization, an employer:
    1. discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee to encourage or discourage membership in the labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in order to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of guaranteed self-organization or collective bardaining rights; or
    3. engaged in any unfair labor practice that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of such guaranteed rights.
      Source: Employee Free Choice Act 09-HR1409 on Mar 10, 2009

      Extend unemployment compensation during recession.

      Kagen co-sponsored extending unemployment compensation during recession

      A bill to provide for a program of temporary extended unemployment compensation. Provides for federal-state agreements under which a state will make temporary extended unemployment compensation payments to individuals who:

      1. have exhausted all rights to regular compensation under state or federal law with respect to a benefit year (excluding any benefit year that ended before one year before the enactment of this Act);
      2. have no rights to regular compensation or extended compensation with respect to a week under such law or any other state or federal unemployment compensation law;
      3. are not receiving compensation for such week under the unemployment compensation law of Canada; and
      4. filed an initial claim for regular compensation on or after one year before the enactment of this Act.
      Source: Emergency Unemployment Extension Act (S.2544&H.R.4934) 2008-S2544 on Jan 22, 2008

      Ban discriminatory compensation; allow 2 years to sue.

      Kagen signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

        Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs when:
      1. a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted;
      2. an individual becomes subject to the decision or practice; or
      3. an individual is affected by application of the decision or practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid.
      Allows an aggrieved person to obtain relief, including recovery of back pay, for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge filing period are similar or related to practices that occurred outside the time for filing a charge. Applies the preceding provisions to claims of compensation discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

      [Note: A woman named Lilly Ledbetter filed a lawsuit for gender-based discriminatory compensation. The Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Ledbetter could only sue for damages going back 180 days, and the 180 days was calculated from the time her employment contract was initiated, i.e., her hire date. This new law changes the 180-day period to two years, and also calculates the date from the time of each paycheck, rather than the hire date. -- Ed.]

      Source: S.181&H.R.11 2009-S181 on Jan 29, 2009

      Stronger enforcement against gender-based pay discrimination.

      Kagen signed Paycheck Fairness Act

        A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.
      • Revises the exception to the prohibition for a wage rate differential based on any other factor other than sex. Limits such factors to bona fide factors, such as education, training, or experience.
      • Prohibits employer retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee in response to a sex discrimination investigation.
      • Makes employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or punitive damages.
      • States that any action brought to enforce the prohibition against sex discrimination may be maintained as a class action in which individuals may be joined as party plaintiffs without their written consent.
      Source: S.182&H.R.12 2009-S182 on Jan 8, 2009

      2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Jobs: Steve Kagen on other issues:
      WI Gubernatorial:
      Scott Walker
      WI Senatorial:
      Herbert Kohl
      Ron Johnson

      Dem. Freshmen
      in 112th Congress:

      AL-7:Terri Sewell
      CA-33:Karen Bass
      DE-0:John Carney
      FL-17:Frederica Wilson
      HI-1:Colleen Hanabusa
      LA-2:Cedric Richmond
      MA-10:Bill Keating
      MI-13:Hansen Clarke
      RI-1:David Cicilline
      GOP Freshmen
      in 112th Congress:

      AL-2:Martha Roby
      AL-5:Mo Brooks
      AZ-1:Paul Gosar
      AZ-3:Ben Quayle
      AZ-5:David Schweikert
      AR-1:Rick Crawford
      AR-2:Tim Griffin
      AR-3:Steve Womack
      CA-19:Jeff Denham
      CO-3:Scott Tipton
      CO-4:Cory Gardner
      FL-12:Dennis Ross
      FL-2:Steve Southerland
      FL-21:Mario Diaz-Balart
      FL-22:Allen West
      FL-24:Sandy Adams
      FL-25:David Rivera
      FL-5:Rich Nugent
      FL-8:Dan Webster
      GA-2:Mike Keown
      GA-7:Rob Woodall
      GA-8:Austin Scott
      ID-1:Raul Labrador
      IL-8:Joe Walsh
      IL-10:Bob Dold
      IL-11:Adam Kinzinger
      IL-14:Randy Hultgren
      IL-17:Bobby Schilling
      IL-8:Joe Walsh
      IN-3:Marlin Stutzman
      IN-4:Todd Rokita
      IN-8:Larry Bucshon
      IN-9:Todd Young
      KS-1:Tim Huelskamp
      KS-3:Kevin Yoder
      KS-5:Mike Pompeo
      LA-3:Jeff Landry
      MD-1:Andy Harris
      MI-1:Dan Benishek
      MI-2:Bill Huizenga
      MI-3:Justin Amash
      MI-7:Tim Walberg
      MN-8:Chip Cravaack
      MO-4:Vicky Hartzler
      MO-7:Billy Long
      MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
      MS-4:Steven Palazzo
      GOP Freshmen
      in 111th Congress:

      NC-2:Renee Ellmers
      ND-0:Rick Berg
      NH-2:Charlie Bass
      NH-1:Frank Guinta
      NJ-3:Jon Runyan
      NM-2:Steve Pearce
      NV-3:Joe Heck
      NY-13:Michael Grimm
      NY-19:Nan Hayworth
      NY-20:Chris Gibson
      NY-24:Richard Hanna
      NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle
      NY-29:Tom Reed
      OH-1:Steve Chabot
      OH-15:Steve Stivers
      OH-16:Jim Renacci
      OH-18:Bob Gibbs
      OH-6:Bill Johnson
      OK-5:James Lankford
      PA-10:Tom Marino
      PA-11:Lou Barletta
      PA-3:Mike Kelly
      PA-7:Patrick Meehan
      PA-8:Mike Fitzpatrick
      SC-1:Tim Scott
      SC-3:Jeff Duncan
      SC-4:Trey Gowdy
      SC-5:Mick Mulvaney
      SD-0:Kristi Noem
      TN-3:Chuck Fleischmann
      TN-4:Scott DesJarlais
      TN-6:Diane Black
      TN-8:Stephen Fincher
      TX-17:Bill Flores
      TX-23:Quico Canseco
      TX-27:Blake Farenthold
      VA-2:Scott Rigell
      VA-5:Robert Hurt
      VA-9:Morgan Griffith
      WA-3:Jaime Herrera
      WI-7:Sean Duffy
      WI-8:Reid Ribble
      WV-1:David McKinley
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      Contact info:
      Email Contact Form:
      http://kagen.house.gov/contact.shtml
      Fax Number:
      202-225-5729
      Mailing Address:
      Longworth HOB 1232, Washington, DC 20515
      Official Website:
      http://kagen.house.gov
      Phone number:
      (202) 225-5665

      Page last updated: Mar 11, 2011