Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) released the following statement today at a press conference introducing the Congressional Progressive Caucus' "RESTORE the American Dream for the 99% Act":
"Good morning. I'm proud to join my colleagues here today. We introduce this bill today in support of -- in solidarity with -- Americans for whom $10,000 is not a friendly wager, but 6 months pay if they're lucky.
"Just as we did with The People's Budget this spring, we have demonstrated that it is possible to create jobs and invest in our people while reducing the deficit. We can do both. We must do both. It's all a question of priorities.
"It's about investing in job training instead of spending billions every week on a failed war (guess which one is more expensive?). It's about upgrading our roads and bridges instead of giving tax breaks to Big Oil and other polluters. It's about putting people to work rebuilding our schools instead of throwing money away on wasteful Cold War defense systems.
"I am proud that two bills of mine are a part of this package. Both will protect workers and families at the same time that they cut spending and give taxpayers a break. First, we can build on health care reform by offering a public option within the exchanges. By creating competition with the private insurance industry, my public option bill will bring down the cost of health care and ultimately save the treasury $88 billion through 2021.
"And the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act will crack down against employers who cheat their workers of important benefits -- like minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers' comp and collective bargaining rights -- when they categorize them as independent contractors instead of employees. The widespread misclassification practice costs the nation $2.7 billion a year in lost revenue.
"The American people are hurting. They've endured the most devastating economic downturn of our lifetimes. They deserve prosperity, not austerity. They're willing to pull their weight and pay their fair share as long as Wall Street and the CEOs are doing the same.
"For 11 and a half months, the Republican Majority has tried to give us government of, by and for the 1%. It falls to the Congressional Progressive Caucus to speak for the 99% -- to honor the sacrifice and struggles of the working families, to fight for the middle class, to invigorate our economy and restore the American Dream. "