The American dream is founded on two fundamental pillars: our free enterprise economy and voluntary civil society.
We usually refer to the free market and civil society as “institutions.” But really, they are networks of people and information and opportunity. What makes these networks uniquely powerful is that they impel everyone – regardless of race, religion, or wealth - to depend not simply on themselves or the government, but on each other. For all America’s reputation for individualism and competition, our nation has from the beginning been built on a foundation of community and cooperation.
In a free market economy and voluntary civil society, no matter your career or your cause, your success depends on your service. The only way to get ahead is to help others do the same. The only way to look out for yourself is to look out for your neighbors.
Together, these twin networks of service-based success enabled millions of ordinary Americans to make our economy very wealthy and our society truly rich.
But too often the federal government has created barriers that impeded these networks. Our job is to identify these obstructions to our market economy and civil society and clear them.
One of the most significant stumbling blocks for many new families is the lack of paid family leave for new parents. Every parent knows that those first few weeks and months at home with new babies are crucial and filled with things such as doctors’ appointments and routine check-ups. The amount of time that parents spend with their newborn plays an important role in the parent-child relationship, as well as childhood and adolescent development. Giving every new mom and dad the flexibility to stay home for some of that time is something all Americans would like to see.
The CRADLE Act would allow both natural and adoptive parents to receive one, two, or three months of paid leave benefits by giving them the option to delay activating their Social Security benefits for two, four or six months. Expectant parents would simply fill out a form to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of their intention to take paid leave before an expected birth or adoption. Then, after the birth or adoption, the SSA would begin payments two weeks after parents applied for their baby’s social security number.
For many families, especially with young children, their most precious commodity is time. But today, federal labor laws restrict the way moms and dads and everyone else can use their time. For decades, Congress has given a special exemption from these laws to government employees. This is unacceptable. The same work-life options available to government employees should be available to private-sector workers, as well.
Talk to any working mom and dad and they’ll tell you they need more time – just one more hour in the day to make life work. We can’t legislate another hour in the day, but we can help working people better balance the demands of family and work by removing an unnecessary federal restriction on utilizing comp time in the private sector.
The “Working Families Flexibility Act” helps workers handle the constant challenge of work-life balance by allowing private-sector employers to offer all individuals who work overtime to choose between monetary compensation or comp-time. Particularly for families, the law would help alleviate the difficulties of juggling work, home, kids, and community.
All hard-working Americans should be free to choose whether or not to join or contribute to a union. By eliminating the forced unionism provisions in the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act, The National Right to Work Act would eliminate government policy that imposes financial burdens on many low-income and middle-class workers who are compelled to support a union.
For far too long the NLRB has acted as judge, jury, and executioner, for labor disputes in this country. The havoc they have wrought by upsetting decades of established labor law has cost countless jobs. This common sense legislation would finally restore fairness and accountability to our nation’s labor laws.
The “Protecting American Jobs Act” would transfer the power to hear labor disputes to federal courts. The NLRB would retain the power to conduct investigations, but would not be allowed to prosecute them.
Poverty is not just the absence of money, but also the absence of opportunity. Today’s poverty programs place artificial restraints on those who are trying to get ahead, build careers and provide better lives for themselves and their families. Successful welfare programs are those that make poverty more temporary, not more tolerable, and we need to move current policy in that direction. The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act will give all low-income Americans the opportunity to earn a good living and build a good life.
The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act corrects and strengthens current welfare programs by restoring work incentives for individuals and families, improving state administration of welfare programs, rewarding states that transition beneficiaries from welfare to work, and imposing greater transparency in means-tested welfare spending.
The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act addresses deep problems in the federal government’s welfare programs that make it more difficult for low-income Americans to work their way into the middle class and stay there. This bill would get existing federal welfare programs under control and would help the working poor transition from poverty to opportunity and security.
The Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work (ALLOW) Act reduces the anticompetitive impact of unjustifiable licensing requirements by making targeted changes to licensure policies. The Act:
Serves as a model for reform in the states by limiting the creation of occupational license requirements in the District only to those circumstances in which it is the least restrictive means of protecting the public health, safety or welfare, and makes it District policy to limit the enforcement of a license requirement only to the sale of those goods and services expressly listed in the statute or regulations defining an occupation’s “scope of practice.” Promotes less restrictive requirements, such as public and private certification. Provides for the creation of a dedicated office in the District Attorney General’s Office, or within each relevant District agency, responsible for the active supervision of occupational boards. Provides for legislative oversight, with a “sunrise review” when considering new proposed licensing requirements to evaluate the possible negative impacts on workers and economic growth, along with possible less restrictive regulations. And provides legislative “sunset review,” which applies the same analysis of net benefits and possible alternatives to existing occupational licensing laws in the District, with the goal of reviewing all such laws and proposing appropriate modifications over a five year period.
Harmonizes occupational entry requirements by providing endorsement on military bases of occupational licenses and public certifications issued in any state in order to promote workforce attachment for military spouses who are disproportionately affected by the patchwork of state licensing laws as they move with their enlisted spouse from post-to-post. This approach will increase workforce mobility and labor market efficiency.
Emphasizes certification as an alternative approach to licensure by eliminating the need to obtain prior government approvals to speak about our Nation’s military, political and cultural history while offering tour guide services for a fee within National Military Parks and Battlefields, on the National Mall and Memorial Parks.