February 27, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my concerns with H.R. 228. While the legislation seeks to provide additional flexibility and support to Indian tribes--a worthy goal--I remain concerned that it could have the effect of weakening the services provided to families and children in Indian tribes. Currently, Indian tribes have the option to consolidate certain federal funding streams related to work and job training into one grant. H.R. 228 includes a number of changes to this consolidation option and expands the number of programs that can be consolidated.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, our country is experiencing a retirement security crisis. Nearly 40 million private sector workers do not have access to a retirement savings plan at their jobs. The data and research also show that many middle- and low-income workers lack the ability to save enough on their own for retirement. Too many Americans lack access to retirement savings plans and too few are able to build a retirement nest egg on their own. Unfortunately, Congress has not stepped up to comprehensively address our country's retirement security challenges, but many States have stepped up and enacted innovative solutions to expand working people's access to retirement savings. California passed a law establishing a program that is estimated to provide 6.8 million workers access to a retirement savings plan. In Illinois, more than a million people are expected to benefit from the State's retirement savings program.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of myself and Representatives Robert Wittman, Donald McEachin, and Scott Taylor to honor Dr. Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, an extraordinary group of women from Hampton Roads, Virginia recently featured in the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Tomorrow evening, Senators WARNER, KAINE, and BROWN are joining me in hosting a screening of Hidden Figures here at the United States Capitol. I would like to take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of the remarkable women depicted in this film Breaking down barriers of both gender and race at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, these women, and many like them, laid the groundwork for John Glenn to become the first American to orbit the earth, and for Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon. I am proud that their stories are reaching a wider audience.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.J. Res. 58, the joint resolution of disapproval of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation programs. This resolution would not only block the rule in question, but according to the rules of the CRA, it would tie the hands of this and of any future administration from re-regulating the provisions until a successful reauthorization of the Higher Education Act might take place. Mr. Speaker, this rule in question provides clarity to States on how to increase teacher preparation program quality, transparency, and the equitable distribution of well-prepared teachers. It was promulgated to enable compliance with the statutory provision included in the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in strong opposition of H.J. Res. 57. This resolution takes aim at the heart of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. That bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. This resolution would strike down regulations that provide necessary clarity to States about what it means to ensure that all students are taught to high standards, and what it means to provide accurate data on student academic performance and resource equity. States now lack direction needed to proceed with implementation of the bill. Just last week, the Department removed all ESSA technical assistance to the States from the public domain, despite numerous and repeated requests for technical assistance from State and local leaders.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Before I address the disapproval resolution, I just want to acknowledge the important role Federal contractors have in meeting the needs of the Federal Government. Employment and critical services in many districts, including my own, are heavily reliant on Federal contractors, including those who serve a critical role for our Nation, supporting the needs of the military, the Coast Guard, Homeland Security, and many others.
January 13, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this budget resolution and its intent to compromise the health insurance of all Americans. Republicans continue to pursue the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, root and branch, despite the fact that there is no credible plan to deal with the chaos that this repeal will create. Thirty million Americans will lose their insurance, the vast majority being working families. There is no plan to protect the other Americans who have enjoyed improved consumer protections and benefits. Although the rates have gone up, they have gone up at half the rate that they had been going up before ObamaCare, and most of those in the marketplace don't even have to pay those increased prices because of increased tax credits.
January 11, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, this amendment to the Regulatory Accountability Act, H.R. 5, if adopted, would exempt regulations proposed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, MSHA and OSHA, which are needed to prevent or reduce the incidence of traumatic injury, cancer, or irreversible lung disease. I am deeply concerned that this legislation would impose layers of unnecessary procedures to the rulemaking process and provide incentives for frivolous litigation, while hindering workplace safety agencies trying to help keep workers safe. Current procedures that govern OSHA's rulemaking already involve an extensive review process and stakeholder engagement from small business review panels, risk assessments, economic feasibility determinations, public hearings, and multiple opportunities for public comment. According to the GAO, to meet these requirements, it takes OSHA 7 years to issue a new safety standard. In fact, it required 18 years for OSHA to update a rule that reduces exposure to beryllium, a metal that causes irreversible lung disease, even though there was broad agreement between employers and unions on the new standard.
January 11, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend for yielding. Mr. Chairman, over the past 2 weeks, the majority has considered three bills on the House floor designed to undermine the ability of the executive branch to implement essential economic and public health protections for the people we have the honor to represent: the so-called Midnight Rules Relief Act, which could retroactively disallow rules issued as far back as June of last year; the REINS Act, which requires a majority vote of both Houses of Congress before any major rule can go into effect; and today's Regulatory Accountability Act, which is an 82-page omnibus bill which would effectively tie the executive branch into so much red tape that environmental, workplace, and consumer protections might never see the light of day. By enacting these statutes, Congress would impair the constitutional duty of the executive branch to ``take care that laws be faithfully executed'' and replace them with a series of layers that can be applied by deep-pocketed special interests, including one provision that prevents some rules from going into effect that may affect public safety if somebody files a lawsuit.
January 9, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for organizing this Special Order. I will be brief. There are a lot of people who want to speak. I will just speak to the jurisdiction of the Education and the Workforce Committee, on which I have the honor of serving as the ranking member. Mr. Speaker, as we consider appointments to the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, we shouldn't just look at people's personalities, but at what the policy implications are of their appointments. The Senate must reject those nominees who will fail to stand up to the goals and aspirations of America's children and workers. The first nominee I will speak to is that of Secretary of Labor, Mr. Puzder, who was the CEO of CKE Restaurants. He has spoken out many times in opposition to an increase in the minimum wage. Many States have recognized that the minimum wage is so low that people who work full time fail to make a wage that exceeds the poverty level. What is his position going to be on increasing the minimum wage? With overtime, are people entitled to work overtime after 40 hours? The regulation is in place. Will he enforce that new regulation? Or will he try to overturn the regulation that recognizes and honors the 40-hour workweek, whereby those who work more than 40 hours will get time and a half? If you look at CKE's retirement plan, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of fees.