Bernie Sanders on Jobs

Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)


Create jobs with infrastructure repair & Green New Deal

Q: Are you promising that you will have a job for every American displaced by automation?

SANDERS: Damn right, we will. We have an infrastructure which is collapsing. We can put 15 million people to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater plants, airports, etc. Furthermore, the Green New Deal that I have advocated will create up to 20 million jobs as we move away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Help transition for miners: income for 5 years, & education

Q: How would you help workers of the fossil fuel industry transition to other respectable fields of work in a future green economy?

SANDERS: The coal miners in this country, the men and women who work on the oil rigs, they are not my enemy. My enemy is climate change. We have built into our $16 trillion plan, tens of billions of dollars for a just transition. If some worker loses their job because we're moving away from fossil fuel, we're going to guarantee them an income for five years, the education they need, because those workers are not our enemies. They should not be punished because we're trying to save the planet.

Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Ain't nobody in Congress more pro-worker than I am

Gov. Steve Bullock: All of us agree that we have address climate change. The Republicans won't even acknowledge that climate change is real, and that's because of the corrupting influence and money. As we transition to this clean energy economy, there are folks that have spent their whole life powering our country, and far too often, Democrats sound like they're part of the problem.

SANDERS: Look, Steve, there ain't nobody in the Congress who's more strongly pro-worker than I am. So when I talk about taking on the fossil fuel industry, what I am also talking about is a just transition. We can create what the Green New Deal is about. We can create millions of good-paying jobs. We can rebuild communities in rural America that have been devastated. So we are not anti-worker. We are going to provide and make sure that those workers have a transition, new jobs, healthcare and education.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Tax companies for public benefits used by workers

Sanders co-sponsored a bill in April 2017 that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15. In September 2018, he introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop BEZOS) Act, which would tax companies for public benefits their workers accessed.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 12, 2019

End racism in hiring, redlining, & disparate pay

Studies show African American job applicants receive far fewer job callbacks--and we still see the same levels of hiring discrimination that we saw 30 years ago. Together, we must end the disparities and racism that exist in employment practices.

African Americans often face higher interest rates on loans and mortgages than others with a similar credit score, and black small businesses are unable to get the affordable credit they need to grow and expand. Together, we will end redlining in the financial services industry.

At a time when women in this country earn about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, black women earn all of 61 cents for every dollar white men make. That is unacceptable. We believe in equal pay for equal work, whether you're a man or a woman, man, black, white, Latino or whatever.

Source: Speech transcript from National Action Network Convention , Apr 5, 2019

Equal pay for equal work: anything else unacceptable

The Vermont Senator spoke about the "horrific" level of income and wealth disparity, focusing on how it relates to the African American community. "That is unacceptable," he said of the pay gap between black women and men to an applauding audience. "Equal pay for equal work, whether you're black or white, male or female, equal pay for equal work."
Source: ABC News excerpts from National Action Network Convention , Apr 5, 2019

FactCheck: Unemployment under Trump is lowest in decades

A "fact-check" video by Bernie Sanders misrepresents employment data in an attempt to prove President Trump "wrong" about the economy. The data actually show employment continues to improve under Trump.

The video features Warren Gunnels, the senator's top aide on the Senate budget committee. Trump said in the SOTU speech, "unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century." The official unemployment rate dropped as low as 3.7% in November--marking the first time it had been that low since 1969.

In the "fact-check" video, Gunnels says "the real unemployment rate--which includes those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time when they need a full-time job--is 8.1%, not 4%." Gunnels is referring to the U-6, an "alternative measure of labor underutilization." Gunnels is right that the U-6 rate is 8.1%. But this is what he doesn't tell his viewers: Under Trump, the U-6 rate had dropped to its lowest level in 17 years, the lowest since April 2001.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2019 State of the Union response , Feb 6, 2019

Women still earn only 80% of men; minorities earn 63%

Today women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce. Yet the average woman working full-time in this country still earns just 80 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same job.

The gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. African American women earn 54 cents, and Native American women only 58 cents or every dollar a white man earns.

Since the 1990s, more women have received undergraduate and graduate degrees than men. In spite of these gains, the gender pay gap has remained roughly the same for the past fifteen years.

Equal pay is not just a woman's issue; it is also a family issue. When women do not receive equal pay for equal work, families across America have less money to spend on child care, groceries, and housing.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 13-5 , Aug 29, 2017

A job is more than income; it's how we relate to the world

In a modern democratic society, people have the right to a decent job at decent pay. Let's put the unemployed and underemployed to work transforming America.

A job is more than a "job". It is more than just making an income. A job is, in an important sense, how we relate to the world in which we live. Being a productive member of society, a contributor to the well-being of our neighbors and our community, gives our lives meaning, dignity, and satisfaction. In 1944, in his second-to-last State of the Union speech, FDR stated, "We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence."

If we are serious about reversing the decline of the middle class, we need a

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 241-2 , Nov 15, 2016

Establish worker-owned cooperatives to counter corporations

We must develop new economic models to create jobs and increase wages and productivity. Instead of giving huge tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs to China, we need to provide assistance to workers who want to purchase their own businesses by establishing worker-owned cooperatives and majority owned employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Study after study has shown that employee ownership increases employment, increases productivity, increase sales, and increases wages in the United States.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 260 , Nov 15, 2016

I investigated undocumented farm workers in FL

Ted Kennedy was kind enough to allow me to hold a hearing in 2008 in Congress, dealing with the plight of undocumented tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida. I went there on my own. Wasn't an issue really for the state of Vermont to expose the horrendous working conditions and the semi-slavery that those workers lived under. The result of that hearing was to significantly improve the wages and working conditions of those workers.
Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

Minority youth more underemployed than others

We have a crisis with youth unemployment. If you look at Latino kids between 17 and 20 who graduated high school, 36 percent of them are unemployed or underemployed. African-American kids are unemployed or underemployed to the tune of 51 percent. That's why I co-sponsored legislation to put $5 billion into a jobs program to put our kids to work because I would rather invest in education and jobs than jails and incarceration. We have got to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

Obama rebuilt jobs; but middle class is disappearing

Q: You've argued that the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We've had a Democratic president for seven years. What are you going to be able to do that President Obama didn't?

SANDERS: Let's remember where we were when Bush left office. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. My Republican friends seem to have some amnesia on this issue. Are we better off today than we were then? Absolutely. But the truth is that for the last 40 years, the great middle class of this country has been disappearing. And in my view what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; pay equity for women workers; and our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition free.

Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Corporate opposition makes union organizing difficult

Union workers who are able to collectively bargain for higher wages and benefits earn substantially more than non-union workers. Today, corporate opposition to union organizing makes it extremely difficult for workers to join a union. We need legislation which makes it clear that when a majority of workers sign cards in support of a union, they can form a union.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, BernieSanders.com , Mar 21, 2015

Create worker-owned cooperatives & grow unions

Source: 12 Steps Forward, by Sen. Bernie Sanders , Jan 15, 2015

Real unemployment is 16%; official unemployment only 9%

While "official" unemployment is at 9.8 percent, real unemployment is over 16 percent--and even higher for blue collar workers. Despite massive unemployment and the collapse of the middle class, the representatives or organized money want more tax breaks for the wealthy, more government deregulation, more unfettered free trade, more anti-union legislation and--as if this was not bad enough--they want an end of funding for unemployment benefits.
Source: Sanders Introduction to `Playing Bigger`, by S. Acuff, p. 3 , Nov 8, 2012

Extend unemployment benefits whenever jobless rate over 7.2%

We have heard from the President that this [tax agreement] is a compromise. One of the examples of compromise is an extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months.

Well, in the midst of a serious recession, at a time when millions of our fellow Americans have been out of work for a very long time, it would be, in my view, immoral & wrong to turn our backs on those workers. Their unemployment benefits are going to be running out soon. It is absolutely imperative that we extend those unemployment benefits for the 2 million workers who would lose them.

I do not believe, honestly, that the Republican support now for extending unemployment benefits constitutes much of a compromise because the truth is, for the past 40 years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, it has been bipartisan policy that whenever the unemployment rate has been above 7.2%, unemployment insurance has always been extended. That is what we have always done. That is what we should be doing in the future.

Source: The Speech: A Historic Filibuster, by Bernie Sanders , Dec 10, 2010

1950s manufacturing job created middle class, but not now

When we talk about the collapse of the middle class, it is important to also recognize the fact that, for young workers, for example, when we had a manufacturing base in America in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, you could graduate high school and go out and get a job in a factory. Was it a glamorous job? No. Was it a hard job? Yes. Was it a dirty job? In some cases. But if you worked in manufacturing, and especially if you had a union behind you, the likelihood is you earned wages to take your family into the middle class.

Where are all those jobs now? During the Bush years alone, we went from 19 million jobs in manufacturing to 12 million jobs, a horrendous loss of manufacturing jobs. If you are a kid today and you are not of a mind, for whatever reason, to go to college, what are your options? You can get a minimum wage job at McDonald's or maybe at Walmart, where benefits are minimal or nonexistent. That is a significant transition of the American economy.

Source: The Speech: A Historic Filibuster, by Bernie Sanders , Dec 10, 2010

Unions are freedom of association; but gets you fired

Perhaps the most significant reason for the decline in the middle class is the rights of workers to join together and bargain for better wages, better benefits, and better working conditions have been severely undermined over the years. Today, if an employee is engaged in a union organizing campaign, that employee has a 1 in 5 chance of getting fired. Today, half of all employers threaten to close or relocate their business if workers choose to form a union. Today, when workers become interested in forming unions, 92% of private sector employers force employees to attend closed-door meetings to hear antiunion propaganda; 78% require supervisors to deliver antiunion messages to workers they oversee; and 75% hire outside consultants to run antiunion campaigns. In 2005 alone, over 30,000 workers were discriminated against, losing wages or even their jobs, for exercising their constitutional right of freedom of association--a right guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States.
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 53 , Jun 25, 2007

Middle-class wages have been in a 40-year decline

We need a new trade policy that creates decent-paying jobs in America and ends the race to the bottom. Corporate

America cannot continue to throw American workers out on the street while they outsource our jobs and enjoy record-breaking profits.

One of the major reasons the middle class has been in a forty-year decline, poverty has been increasing, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else has been growing wider is because we have been losing millions of jobs as a direct result of our disastrous trade policies. We must do everything possible to stop companies from outsourcing American jobs.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 280 , Nov 15, 2016

Bernie Sanders on Minimum Wage

Tax CEOs making more than 50 times median worker pay

Publicly traded corporations must annually disclose their ratio of CEO to median worker pay. Sanders would place consequences on these disclosures: Corporations with CEOs making more than 50 times the typical worker's pay would face higher corporate income tax rates. The wider their corporate pay gap, the steeper the tax. Sanders introduced legislation incorporating this pay-ratio tax plan November 13, with Elizabeth Warren a co-sponsor.
Source: The Nation magazine on 2019 Democratic primary , Nov 19, 2019

Make minimum wage a living wage

I believe that in the richest country in the history of the world, if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty. I believe that if we raise that minimum wage to $15 an hour, workers will have more money to spend in their community and create jobs doing that. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. I think it is good economics. I'm very delighted to see the kind of progress we're making in states and cities all over this country.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Feb 25, 2019

Real wages for working class in 2019 are lower than in 1973

For the middle class and working families of this country, the truth is that the economy is not so great [despite Trump's truthful claims that the economy is great for the billionaire class].

Over the last year, for example, real inflation accounted for wages for the average American worker is up by all of 1.2 percent--just $9.11 a week. In fact, real wages for that same worker are lower today than they were in 1973. Let me repeat. The average American worker, after adjusting for inflation, is earning less today than he or she did 46 years ago--despite huge increases in productivity. Sadly, millions of American workers today are forced to work 2 or 3 jobs just to pay the bills and to keep their heads above water economically.

And, let us never forget that, in America today, millions of our people are working for starvation wages--$8, $9, $10 an hour and here is the simple truth. Nobody can raise a family or pay the rent on these poverty wages.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 5, 2019

Accompany minimum wage increase with pay equity for women

Why, in the wealthiest country in history, do we have a massive level of income and wealth inequality? Why are millions of us forced to work two or three jobs because we earn starvation wages? Why, at a time of record-breaking profits, does the federal minimum wage remain an unlivable $7.25 per hour?

Three years ago, a few brave Democrats in the Senate were advocating for a $12 federal minimum wage. Today, a majority of Americans support a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

We are making progress in creating a more just economy. And by the way, when we talk about a fair wage, we cannot forget that women still earn some 80 cents on the dollar compared with men. When we talk about a fair wage, we cannot forget that women still earn some 80 cents on the dollar compared with men. There is overwhelming support in this country for pay equity--equal pay for equal work--and that is the right thing to do. Every man in this country must stand with the women to win that fight.

Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p.253-4 , Nov 27, 2018

Helped raise minimum wage at Amazon to $15 per hour

Q: President Trumps says that if the Democrats get control, people like you--he calls you "Crazy Bernie"--are going to take over and try to turn the US into Venezuela.

SANDERS: Yes, Bernie would like to guarantee healthcare to all people. Bernie wants to end the absurdity of thousands of bright young kids not being able to afford to go to college and millions leaving school deeply in debt. Bernie thinks it's more important to invest in the needs of our infrastructure and our working families rather than giving tax breaks to billionaires and corporations. Bernie thinks that we should raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and are proud of the work that many of us did in helping to raise that wage at Amazon, 350,000 workers now are going to be making at least $15 bucks an hour. So what Bernie wants to do is to have a government that represents all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors. Now Trump may not like that, but I think most Americans want to see us move in that direction.

Source: ABC This Week 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Oct 14, 2018

Minimum wage increase helps economy because workers spend it

When low wage workers have money in their pockets, they spend that money in grocery stores, restaurants, and businesses throughout this country. All this new business gives companies a reason to expand and hire more workers. This is a win-win-win for our economy. Poverty is reduced. New jobs are created. And we reduce the skyrocketing income inequality that currently exists in this country. Every time a minimum wage increase is proposed locally or nationally, conservative politicians and their billionaire campaign contributors claim that jobs will be destroyed. Time and time again they have been proven dead wrong. Increasing the minimum wage is good for business as well as workers because it reduces employee turnover. When workers earn a living wage, they are more likely to stay with their company.
Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 3-7 , Aug 29, 2017

Current $7.25/hr and $2.13/hr is starvation wage

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is starvation wage. The minimum wage must become a living wage--which means raising it to $15 an hour by 2020 and tying it to the cost-of-living increases in the future. And we must also close the loophole that allows employers to pay workers who get tips--waiters, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers, parking attendants--a shamefully low $2.13 an hour.

These changes would benefit more than seventy-five million workers and their families.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 2 , Aug 29, 2017

Fight for $15: worker wages so low they need food stamps!

[The movement labeled "Fight for $15" involved] raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour; [that] may have been a fringe idea a few years ago, but now it is a mainstream idea whose time has come.

This legislation would also end an outrageous aspect of corporate welfare. Today, many workers in large and profitable corporations, some of which are owned by multibillionaires, earn wages that are so low that they are forced to rely on publicly funded programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing in order to survive. In my view, it is totally absurd for the taxpayers of this country to have to subsidize people like Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the wealthiest person in the world, worth over $150 billion. He should be paying his employees a living wage, and a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage would be a step in the right direction toward making that happen.

Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p.80-1 , Apr 26, 2017

$15 minimum wage, plus pay equity for women

Millions of Americans are now working for totally inadequate wages. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised. The minimum wage must become a living wage, which means raising it to $15 an hour over the next few years--which is exactly what Los Angeles recently did, and I applaud them for doing that. Our goal as a nation must be to ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty. Further, we must establish pay equity for women workers. It's unconscionable that women earn 78 cents on the dollar compared to men who perform the same work. We must also end the scandal in which millions of American employees, often earning less then $30,000 a year, work fifty or sixty hours a week--and earn no overtime.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.123 , Nov 15, 2016

Minimum wage increase most helps minority workers

Raising the minimum wage would give a particularly huge boost to minority workers. Today, more than half of all African-American workers and nearly 60 percent of Hispanic workers earn less than $15 an hour. In addition, according to the most recent statistics, women make up two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would significantly boost the wages of more than 15 million women.

My Republican colleagues tell us that most minimum-wage workers out there are kids earning some pocket change. This is simply not true, and by perpetuating that lie, my colleagues are keeping tens of millions of working adults in poverty.

The average worker who would benefit from a $15-an-hour minimum wage is thirty-six years old with an average of seventeen years in the workforce. Less than 7 percent of workers who would receive a raise from this proposal are teenagers.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.218-9 , Nov 15, 2016

$15/hour minimum wage indexed to inflation

[After the 2016 primaries], during the proceedings in St. Louis and Orlando, we were victorious in including amendments in the platform that made it the policy of the Democratic Party to fight for:All of these progressive policies were at the heart of our campaign. I appreciated the willingness of the Clinton team and the DNC to work with us and create a platform that we could all be proud of.
Source: Where We Go From Here, by B. Sanders, p.16-7, on 2016 DNC , Jul 9, 2016

$15 minimum wage might lose some jobs, but it helps many

Q: A minimum wage of $15 could lead to unintended consequences of job loss.

SANDERS: No public policy doesn't have negative consequences. But what you have right now are millions of Americans working two or three jobs because their wages that they are earning are just too low. It is not a radical idea to say that if somebody works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty. It is not a radical idea to say that a single mom should be earning enough money to take care of her kids.

Q: Are job losses an acceptable consequence?

SANDERS: Real unemployment in this country is 10% because the average worker in America doesn't have any disposable income. You have no disposable income when you are making $10 or $12 an hour. When we put money into the hands of working people, they're going to go out and buy goods, they're going to buy services and they're going to create jobs in doing that. That is the kind of economy I believe in: put money in the hands of working people.

Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa , Nov 14, 2015

Bernie Sanders on Voting Record

Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage--$15 an hour over the next few years. No one in this country who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, BernieSanders.com , Mar 21, 2015

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-S214 on Nov 20, 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: Veto Override on Food, Conservation, and Energy Act; Bill HR6124 ; vote number 2008-151 on Jun 18, 2008

Voted NO on terminating legal challenges to English-only job rules.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To take $670,000 used by the EEOC in bringing actions against employers that require their employees to speak English, and instead use the money to teach English to adults through the Department of Education's English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant program.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. ALEXANDER: Let me begin with this story. In March 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two employees in a Boston area thrift store. What had the Salvation Army done to earn this lawsuit from the Federal Government? Well, it had required its employees to speak English on the job. The English rule was clearly posted, and the employees were given a year to learn it. But this lawsuit means that a small business in Missouri would have to hire a lawyer in order to make sure they have a clear business reason to require their employees to speak our common language on the job.

So I have an amendment to bring some common sense to this subject. It would be to take $670,000 used by the EEOC, which it is using to bring actions against employers who require their employees to speak English.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KENNEDY: Let's look at what the law is and what the Alexander amendment provides. The law currently says that if there is a need to speak English on the job, fine; employers can require that. But employers cannot use English-only rules as an excuse when they want to fire minorities who are performing the job correctly. In this fact situation, those employees had performed the job correctly for 5 years.

In addition, this amendment reduces the EEOC's ability to fight all forms of discrimination because it cuts the entire budget. That means race, age, religion, and disability cases will be harmed. I hope the amendment will be defeated.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment passed, 54-44

Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4222 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S058 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted YES on limiting farm subsidies to people earning under $750,000.

Vote on an amendment to bill H.R. 2419 (Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act): To improve the adjusted gross income limitation and use the savings to reduce the Federal deficit.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. KLOBUCHAR: The focus of this amendment is to make sure the subsidy and the safety net in the farm bill go to the people whom it will most help; that is, family farmers. The top 20 business recipients in the country have each gotten more than $3 million under this farm bill. Under the current system, a part-time farmer can have an income as high as $2.5 million from outside sources and still qualify for Federal farm benefits. I do not believe we should be handing out payments to multimillionaires, when these payments should be targeted to family farmers. This amendment places reasonable limits on the incomes of those who receive farm payments: If you are a full-time farmer, you can get the subsidies as long as your income does not exceed $750,000. If you are a part-time farmer or farm investor, you can participate in farm programs if your income does not exceed $250,000.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. CHAMBLISS: I am disheartened that farm program critics continue to try to lead us into believing that there is a vast army receiving benefits to which they are not entitled. Stories about people receiving program benefits continue to make the headlines. But most of the people I know in these situations don't consider themselves wealthy. This debate is not about wealthy landowners and millionaires receiving program benefits. It is really about farmers in general, regardless of their economic situation, receiving program benefits. A few short months ago the debate was about making payments to millionaires and now we are at $750,000 and people want to go even further. This amendment is actually an assault on everyday farmers; but is disguised as an assault on wealthy landowners and millionaires.

Reference: Klobuchar Amendment to Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act; Bill S.Amdt. 3810 to H.R. 2419 ; vote number 2007-426 on Dec 13, 2007

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.
    Status: Cloture rejected Cloture vote rejected, 51-48 (3/5ths required)

    Reference: Employee Free Choice Act; Bill H R 800 ; vote number 2007-227 on Jun 26, 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 H.R.2 ; vote number 2007-042 on Feb 1, 2007

    Voted NO on end offshore tax havens and promote small business.

    American Jobs Creation Act of 2004: <0l>
  1. Repeal the tax exclusion for extraterritorial income - Permits foreign corporations to revoke elections to be treated as U.S. corporations Business Tax Incentives - Small Business ExpensingTax Relief for Agriculture and Small Manufacturers
  2. Tax Reform and Simplification for United States Businesses
  3. Deduction of State and Local General Sales Taxes
  4. Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform
  5. Provisions to Reduce Tax Avoidance Through Individual and Corporation Expatriation
Reference: Bill sponsored by Bill Rep Thomas [R, CA-22]; Bill H.R.4520 ; vote number 2004-509 on Oct 7, 2004

Voted NO 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.

Sanders 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

Require full disclosure of outsourced employees.

Sanders co-sponsored requiring full disclosure of outsourced employees

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Transparency and Responsibility for US Trade Health Act (TRUTH Act): Requires a US national that employs individuals in a foreign country, either directly or through subsidiaries, to take necessary steps to provide transparency and public disclosure in all its operations.