By: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell
Special to WDRB.com
The Obama Economy has had a devastating impact on the people of Kentucky, especially the many working women and families who keep this Commonwealth running. The facts are plain: Under this President's watch, more than 3.7 million American women have fallen into poverty, including 44,000 women in Kentucky. The average American woman now makes about $730 a year less than when the President took office. And if she's a college graduate, she's actually seen her income shrink by about double that amount.
In other words, when it comes to American women overall, what we've seen over the past five and a half years is less income and more poverty. That's the story President Obama and his allies don't want to talk about.
And no single policy is more disastrous to our economy than Obamacare. Just take Obamacare's 30-hour workweek rule, which is forcing many employers to slash workers' hours. By defining full-time workers who must be offered health coverage as those working 30 hours per week or more, the law gives incentives to employers to cut work hours below this threshold, thus lowering pay and productivity.
Furthermore, as one study pointed out, nearly two-thirds of those adversely affected by this arbitrary provision of Obamacare are working women. The 30-hour workweek created under Obamacare disproportionately reduces their wages.
But President Obama, Senator Harry Reid, and their liberal allies in Washington don't seem to care about the ways people are being hurt by their policies. They continue to block innovative ideas Republicans have been offering to turn the tide.
For example, along with several Republican colleagues, I offered a series of measures in the U.S. Senate that will help improve the jobs picture in this country, and provide greater opportunities for women, men, and families desperate to get ahead. Yet the majority in the Senate has objected to each one.
They objected to our proposal to restore the 40-hour workweek, single-handedly preventing it from passing.
They also blocked my flex time proposal that would have given working Moms and Dads the option to take time off to help them find a better work/life balance. This is a policy that many working women say they want, one that's tailored to the needs of the modern workforce, and one that many government employees already enjoy. And work/life flexibility is more critical than ever now that Obamacare's 30-hour work rule is forcing people to pick up a second or a third job just to scrape by.
Senate liberals also blocked the pro-worker Right to Work legislation that Senator Rand Paul and I offered. Right to Work is smart policy that promises to boost competitiveness while advancing workers' rights by ensuring workers are not forced to join, and thus aren't limited by the dictates of, a union.
It's similar to another bill I'm proud to co-sponsor: the RAISE Act, which would allow workers to get a raise even if their union bosses don't want them to. Currently, companies may be forced by union contracts to pay their workers the same no matter how they perform.
Today, a female worker can outperform her colleagues and then be told by some union boss to sit down and accept less pay than she deserves – not a dime more than the coworkers she's outperforming. It's unfair. Workers like her shouldn't be penalized by some archaic union rule dreamt up before the age of "Mad Men." The RAISE Act would fix this by allowing individual excellence to be recognized and rewarded with merit pay. Who could be against higher pay for a job well done?
These are ideas that everyone who claims to stand for workplace fairness should want to see passed. And yet, President Obama, Senator Reid, and their liberal allies always seem to find some excuse not to.
We've already seen what five and a half years of their control has meant: more poverty and lower wages for women. The American people are tired of failed policies and all the political games that helped get us here in the first place. So they need to stop blocking innovative ideas that would move us further along the path to opportunity.
Americans want solutions now, and we owe it to them to start passing the kinds of innovative, common-sense ideas that I am committed to keep pursuing on behalf of the Kentuckians I represent.