When Congress gets back to work after its August recess, the first thing lawmakers should do is unite behind a common sense initiative to support our National Guard troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 'Patriot Corporations of America Act' would require corporations to support U.S. troops by paying the difference between regular salary and military salary for all National Guard and Reserve employees who are called up to active duty, and by continuing health insurance coverage for the Guard member and his or her family.
It's time for America to export our values, not our jobs. This initiative will take an important step toward that goal by rewarding companies that invest in our economy and the middle-class families who drive it.
The act would also:
* provide tax breaks and preferences in federal contracting to companies that produce at least 90 percent of their goods and services in this country
* require corporations to invest at least 50 percent of their research and development budgets in domestic projects
* provide at least 70 percent of the cost of quality health care for their employees
* contribute at least five percent of payroll to a portable pension fund
* enforce compliance with federal environmental, workplace safety, and consumer protection regulations.
When Congress returns after Labor Day, passage of this legislation would be a fitting way to mark a fresh start in a new direction for working families and small businesses.