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Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
The federal government shouldn't give its business to companies that violate labor laws to steal their workers' wages. If this statement seems like common sense to you, congratulations: you're not a House Republican. A Democratic amendment that would have prevented businesses with a documented record of wage theft from getting taxpayer money through government contracts was defeated in a party line vote Thursday.
In a joint statement, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said House Republicans voted "to continue wage theft."

"The federal government could lead the way by disqualifying contractors who practice wage theft, but House Republicans voted tonight against an amendment to do exactly that," Ellison and Grijalva said. "The failure of this amendment illustrates who Republicans defend ... Unfortunately, working families have been left out of the Republican political strategy."

Pretty much, though occasionally Republicans do include working families in their political strategy as scapegoats or targets. But think about it: Republicans literally voted to keep sending federal dollars to companies that have broken the law. Because it's a law that protects workers, so to Republicans, it shouldn't count.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Spite (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubyduby7, Egalitare, MartyM, kurt

    Is there any measure that Republicans support that would in any way make life a little easier or more pleasant for ordinary Americans?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:39:17 AM PDT

    •  It's minimizing exposure for their "clients" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Demi Moaned

      Once you cite some "job creator" for wage theft - even with the relatively tepid penalty of losing qualification of being a Federal Contractor - you create an evidence trail for others to follow.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:33:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Precisely the point: any progress for the major... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Precisely the point: any progress for the majority is zero sum regress for the defenders of unfettered oligarcghy and happy face authoritarian aristocracy. And after the horrors of a black family occupying 'their' "White" House and likely soon to be a woman they can't stand equally for other nonsensical reasons there's no turning back on this dcorched earth approach to governance they employ.

    •  It's Not the Role of Government To Meddle In the (8+ / 0-)

      general welfare. Government is for protecting property, domestic peace and for defending against enemies.

      Government is not for doing anything about society, we have church and family and charity for that.

      There is no such thing as society. --Margaret Thatcher
      There you have the conservative mind.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:18:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your are kidding, right? (0+ / 0-)

        I hope that you are being sarcastic:
        If not please read the following—

        We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

        I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

        by roninkai on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:40:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not spite (0+ / 0-)

      The Republicans are simply looking at for the business interests that they represent.

      They have no more spite towards ordinary Americans than did Cruella De Ville towards the Dalmatians in the old Disney cartoon -- we're simply a means for an end, that end being to maximize profits.  So this legislation wasn't killed out of spite, but simply because it threatened to reduce business profits.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Sat May 31, 2014 at 02:19:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a stupid idea which is obvious (0+ / 0-)

    if you actually think about it.

    I don't know what the penalty fo wage theft is, and quite possibly it should be increased, but, even if that is true, this is stupid.

  •  What does documented record of wage theft mean? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Krush, sierrak9s

    One violation, two, something more endemic?

  •  Of course they did! (0+ / 0-)

    And not only that but they encourage all third world practices the U.S. corporations enagage in with their employees

    Because there is no such thing as American citizens anymore there is just workers who are not valued

  •  If Wage Theft Stops.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Certifiable Genius

    And the minimum wage rises, that means the folks that do the actual work (as opposed to the excruciatingly hard task of signing checks, oh those aching fingers) have actual say in their lives.

    According to the sacred Kult of the GOP, that upsets the "natural order of things", you know, peasantry.

    They're hopeless.


    by Johnny Wendell on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:05:25 PM PDT

  •  Wage theft is O.K. with the GOP. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eleming, a2nite, Certifiable Genius

    A bill to prevent wage theft passed the Iowa Senate on a straight party-line vote. All Republicans voted NO. It was blocked in the Republican-controlled House by the Chair of the Labor Committee who refused to bring the bill up for a vote in committee.

  •  No News Here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eleming, Krush

    I'd be surprised if Republicans didn't elevate the interests of corporations above those of workers.

  •  The Law is Only For Protecting Property. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If people were property, it'd protect them too.

    I'll get right back to ya on that.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:15:09 PM PDT

    •  Evil rotten rich people's property only (0+ / 0-)

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:02:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Repubs have never met a crook they didn't like. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is it treason for the American government to spy on it's own people with no prior justification? Isn't that called making war on them? Abraham Lincoln had an answer for that sort of behavior.

    by franklyn on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:23:51 PM PDT

  •  A modest gun control measure passes House (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Certifiable Genius
    5/30/14....A modest measure to expand funding for federal background checks won House passage 260-145 -- no doubt boosted by the killing of six young people in California last weekend by a young man who wrote he was angry that women wouldn't go out with him. The alleged killer, Elliot Rodger took his own life.

    The measure would increase funding by $19.5 million to make the background check system more comprehensive, pulling in more mental health data.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:27:55 PM PDT

  •  Rethugs Are Against Minimum Wages For Peons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, NoMoreLies

    so wage theft from peons by employers is OK in their small, narrow, closed minds.

  •  A seemingly indefensible vote--however, I would... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A seemingly indefensible vote--however, I would appreciate a link (if exists) to a comment why the republicans voted that way. Would it make sense? no--But it would provide us a more total view that we on the left criticize when done in a right wing bubble. Again, I know the argument would be absurd-- but at least I'd know. Thanks for all the hard work--truly appreciated !

    •  The chair's reason for urging a No vote was tha... (0+ / 0-)

      The chair's reason for urging a No vote was that it had been introduced at 10pm with no time for consideration or review.

      I would also like to know what kind of violation would trigger the penalty, because with hourly employees it's easy to make mistakes in weekly pay. If the requirement is a WILLFUL violation, then the Dept of Labor already has a process to debar contractors for that.

      •  You keep mentioning DOL? (0+ / 0-)

        You keep mentioning that DOL has the power to debar contractors.

        Who has been debarred in the last five years? I can't think of a single example!

        To the extent that DOL even has this power, it is extremely limited, isn't it?

  •  nero fiddled (0+ / 0-)

    while rome burned, the republicans are today's version of the same.

  •  The framers created this country for wage & land (0+ / 0-)


    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:00:45 PM PDT

  •  the wage theft issue brings this (0+ / 0-)

    to mind. And the temp jobs are increasing.

    ..."For beauty," I replied. "And I for truth,-the two are one; We brethren are"... E. Dickinson

    by peagreen on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:32:03 PM PDT

  •  The amendment was too broad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sierrak9s, Jake Bodhi

    Ellison got want he expected. Some good talking points and sound bites. However, the amendment was unworkable as presented.

    If adopted, one outcome of this amendment would have been the likely disbarment (banning) of many big government contractors.

    Or, the more likely outcome, it would lead to a deliberate reduction in enforcement of the FLSA against the big contractors.  E.g, the Feds would be afraid to investigate because they could not afford for the big contractors to be disbarred for relatively minor FLSA infractions.

    Another problem for the Feds is that if the contractors lose or settle a FLSA lawsuit in civil court resulting in a fine, award, or fee of $5000, or more,  the contractor could be disbarred. Thus, they could not control if an action that may result in disbarment would be brought against a big contractor. One FLSA action brought by one employee could result in a big contractor being disbarred.

    Compare with medicare, there are lifetime disbarments for providers convicted of medicare fraud. Accordingly, the Feds only seek convictions against small-time providers — dentists, independent nursing homes, individual physicians, and such. They will not seek convictions against large entities because of the disruption to medicare services that disbarment of a large entity would cause.

    After reviewing the record there is no doubt in the Ellison offered this amendment precisely to get the sound bites quoted in the OP above. If he was serious about this, it would have taken serious study to determine a remedy that would protect workers while not fatally disrupting federal government contracting/procurement processes.

    For those who care, Ellison offered language that would make most civil or administrative dispositions against a contractor that include mention of the “Fair Labor Standards Act”  as automatic triggers for disbarring the contractor.

    Text of his offered amendment:

    “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract with any person whose disclosures of a proceeding with a disposition outlined in 48 CFR 52.209-7(c)(1)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System include the term ``Fair Labor Standards Act.”

  •  It's amazing that people can look at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's amazing that people can look at these...assholes in the Repugnant party and say they are fighting for Americans. I mean, really?! Because nothing is as American as stealing money that someone else has earned that you agreed to pay them.

  •  The republicans are a clear and present danger ... (0+ / 0-)

    The republicans are a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. These people are an evil people. They're more evil then al-Qaeda because they do more harm to this country then those terrorists, with their attack on the poor and their keeping their states close to or in poverty along with their perpetuating racism.

  •  Republicans and libertarians believe (0+ / 0-)

    that government is incompetent, deceitful, untrustworthy, grasping, and dangerous.  When in office, they do everything they can to make it so.

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