House Democrats today announced their new "Middle Class Jumpstart" economic agenda, a legislative action plan to ensure prosperity and opportunity for all Americans. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, who helped to formulate the policies in the plan, released the following statement.
"The deck is stacked against American middle class families, but, tragically, Washington Republicans continue to stack that deck in favor of wealthy corporate and special interests.
"Middle-class working families need legislative solutions that work for them. Our "Middle Class Jumpstart' action plan will strengthen the middle class by helping to create good jobs, by supporting women in the workplace and by making education more affordable and accessible for working families.
"Key to the "Jumpstart' agenda is my Fair Minimum Wage Act to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Communities and states across the country are raising the minimum wage; however, millions of workers need Congress to act. And while Republicans vote to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, they continue to block a pay increase for the hardworking Americans who are struggling to get by. Increasing the minimum wage will ensure more workers can support their families, and it will help all Americans by growing the economy and creating jobs.
"In addition, as education remains the greatest path to prosperity, our plan will improve access to quality education for all Americans--from early learning through to college. Democrats remain committed to passing my Strong Start for America's Children Act to increase access to effective early learning programs for millions of Americans. We will pass Rep. John Tierney's Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to help students and families refinance their college loans to new, lower rates, making their debt more manageable and helping to keep college affordable.
"Unfortunately, Republicans have voted time and again against the interests of our nation's students, limiting access to quality early childhood education and piling heaps of loan debt on the backs of students and families.
"Washington Republicans have also refused to ensure equal pay for equal work, and have voted to reduce access to child care and paid sick leave. Democrats remain committed to passing the Paycheck Fairness Act to guarantee that women and men receive equal pay for equal work, and to bolster legal protections for victims of gender-based wage discrimination. Furthermore, the Healthy Families Act will ensure paid sick leave for men and women, and increase access to affordable child care.
"Americans favor these policies--but Republicans in the House will not let them come up for a vote. It is time for Congress to stand with the American middle class. It is time for the Democrats' "Middle Class Jumpstart' action plan."