Search for...
OnTheIssuesLogo

Ed Towns on Jobs

Democrat/Liberal Representative (NY-10)


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; and this is its "final" veto override.

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:

  1. commodity programs;
  2. conservation;
  3. trade;
  4. nutrition;
  5. credit;
  6. rural development;
  7. research and related matters;
  8. forestry;
  9. energy;
  10. horticulture and organic agriculture;
  11. livestock;
  12. crop insurance and disaster assistance;
  13. socially disadvantaged and limited resource producers; and
  14. miscellaneous programs.
President's veto message: I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 6124. The bill that I vetoed on May 21, 2008, 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].

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.

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

    Voted YES on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports.

    Vote to authorize $167 billion over ten years for farm price supports, food aid and rural development. Payments would be made on a countercyclical program, meaning they would increase as prices dropped. Conservation acreage payments would be retained.
    Bill HR 2646 ; vote number 2001-371 on Oct 5, 2001

    Voted NO on zero-funding OSHA's Ergonomics Rules instead of $4.5B.

    Vote to pass a resolution to give no enforcement authority or power to ergonomics rules submitted by the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration. These rules would force businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders.
    Reference: Sponsored by Nickles, R-OK; Bill S J Res 6 ; vote number 2001-33 on Mar 7, 2001

    Member of the Congressional Rural Caucus.

    Towns is a member of the Congressional Rural Caucus

    The Congressional Rural Caucus (CRC) is a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress who are committed to helping agricultural and rural America build stronger, more prosperous futures for current and future generations of Americans living on the family farms and ranches and in rural communities. The mission of the Congressional Rural Caucus is to promote economic and social policies that support the continued viability of rural communities; ensure that adequate resources are directed towards the development of rural communities during this time of an expanding global economy; educate Members of Congress about the challenges and opportunities unique to rural areas; assist Members of the Caucus in addressing district-specific problems directly related to rural communities; and outreach to and cooperate with Members and Member organizations representing underserved urban communities that face similar concerns, challenges and opportunities as rural communities.

    Source: Congressional Caucus Web site 01-CRC0 on Jan 8, 2001

    Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record.

    Towns scores 100% by the AFL-CIO on union issues

    As the federation of America’s unions, the AFL-CIO includes more than 13 million of America’s workers in 60 member unions working in virtually every part of the economy. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

    The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

    Source: AFL-CIO website 03n-AFLCIO on Dec 31, 2003

    Form unions by card-check instead of secret ballot.

    Towns 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

      Rated 0% by CEI, indicating a pro-worker rights voting record.

      Towns scores 0% by CEI on union issues

      The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free markets and limited government, has created a Congressional Labor Scorecard for the 112th Congress focusing on worker issues. The score is determined based on policies that support worker freedom and the elimination of Big Labor's privileges across the country.

        Votes in the current Congress score include:
      • Bill: H.R. 658, LaTourette Amendment No. 21: NO on repealing changes to the Railway Labor Act's voting rules.
      • Bill: H.R. 658, Gingrey Amendment No. 18: YES to prohibit Federal Aviation Administration employees from using official--that is, taxpayer sponsored--time for union activities during the official workday.
      • Bill: H.R. 1, Price Amendment No. 410: YES to defund the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
      • Bill: H.R. 1, Guinta Amendment No. 166: YES to prohibit imposing "prevailing wage" and other requirements in project labor agreements that advantage unionized contractors.
      • Bill: H.R. 2017, Scalise Amendment No. 388: YES to prohibit project labor agreements in DHS contracts
      • Bill: H.R. 2055, LaTourette Amendment No. 411: NO on funding for federal project labor agreements.
      • Bill: H.R. 1, King Amendment No. 273: YES to eliminate the "Davis Bacon" prevailing wage rate requirement for federal projects.
      • Bill: H.R. 2017, Gosar Amendment No. 386: YES to eliminate the "Davis Bacon" prevailing wage rate requirement for Department of Homeland Security contracts.
      • Bill: H.R. 2354: Gosar Amendment No. 655: YES to restrict application of the Davis-Bacon Act to contracts exceeding $20 million.
      • Bill: H.R. 2017: Rokita Amendment No. 2: YES to prohibit collective bargaining at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
      Source: CEI website 12-CEI-H on May 2, 2012

      Extend unemployment compensation during recession.

      Towns 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.

      Towns 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.

      Towns 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

      2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Jobs: Ed Towns on other issues:
      NY Gubernatorial:
      Andrew Cuomo
      Mike Bloomberg
      NY Senatorial:
      Bob Turner
      Charles Schumer
      Colia Clark
      George Maragos
      Kirsten Gillibrand
      Scott Noren

      Retiring to run for other office:

      Running for President:
      TX-14:Ron Paul(R)

      Running for Mayor:
      CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

      Running for Governor:
      IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
      WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

      Running for Senate:
      AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
      CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
      FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
      HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
      IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
      MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
      MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
      ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
      NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
      NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
      NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
      WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
      Lost Primary 2012:
      IL-16:Donald Manzullo(R)
      NJ-9:Steven Rothman(D)
      OH-2:Jean Schmidt(R)
      OH-9:Dennis Kucinich(D)
      PA-4:Jason Altmire(D)
      PA-17:Tim Holden(D)
      TX-16:Silvestre Reyes(D)

      Retiring 2012:
      AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
      AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
      CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
      CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
      CA-18:Dennis Cardoza(R)
      CA-24:Elton Gallegly(D)
      CA-26:David Dreier(R)
      CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
      IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
      IL-15:Timothy Johnson(R)
      IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
      KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
      MA-1:John Olver(D)
      MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
      MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
      NC-9:Sue Myrick(R)
      NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
      NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
      NY-5:Gary Ackerman(D)
      NY-10:Ed Towns(D)
      NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
      OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
      OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
      PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
      TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
      WA-6:Norm Dicks(D)
      Abortion
      Budget/Economy
      Civil Rights
      Corporations
      Crime
      Drugs
      Education
      Energy/Oil
      Environment
      Families/Children
      Foreign Policy
      Free Trade
      Govt. Reform
      Gun Control
      Health Care
      Homeland Security
      Immigration
      Infrastructure/Technology
      Jobs
      Principles/Values
      Social Security
      Tax Reform
      War/Iraq/Mideast
      Welfare/Poverty

      Main Page
      Profile
      NY politicians

      Contact info:
      Mailing Address:
      Rayburn HOB 2232, Washington, DC 20515
      Official Website
      Phone number:
      (202) 225-5936

      Page last updated: Jun 10, 2012