Capitol Connection E-Newsletter
May 10, 2013 -
House Passes Legislation to Avoid Government Default
On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 807, the Full Faith and Credit Act. This legislation would, in the event that our country reaches the legal debt limit, permit the U.S. Treasury to continue to borrow above the limit in order to pay the principal and interest on the federal government’s debt and to meet its obligations to the Social Security Trust Fund. This would allow the government to avoid defaulting on the public debt and ensure that seniors and Americans with disabilities who rely on Social Security will continue to receive their payments on time and in full.
While it is disappointing that such legislation may be necessary, I supported passage of this bill because allowing the federal government to default would cause massive uncertainty that would put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk, weaken job creation at a time when unemployment in San Bernardino County remains above ten percent, and possibly send our economy back into a recession. We cannot allow this to happen. The legislation passed by the House this week would take the threat of a government default off the table while all sides continue to find responsible solutions that will get our debt under control, support economic growth, and protect and preserve essential programs for our most vulnerable citizens.
House Passes Working Families Flexibility Act
For millions of hard-working American families, finding the right balance between work and family obligations can be extremely difficult. For nearly thirty years, most government employees have had the option to receive paid time off in lieu of overtime pay, allowing them greater flexibility to meet the needs of their family. However, current law –enacted in 1938 - prevents private sector employers from offering this same choice to their workers.
I believe that working moms and dads in the 31st District should be able to choose to spend more time with their families, as most public sector workers are already allowed to do. On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 1406, the Working Families Flexibility Act, which would update the outdated federal law to allow private sector workers to choose paid time off as compensation for working overtime hours.
While granting workplace flexibility is important, I also believe that no worker should be forced to take paid time off instead of receiving overtime pay. Recognizing that, H.R. 1406 requires that the choice be completely voluntary, with a written agreement establishing the arrangement between the employer and employee or, in the case of union workers, included as part of a collective bargaining agreement. Employees that wish to continue to receive overtime pay for overtime hours worked will be able to do so, and employers are prohibited from conditioning employment on this decision.
The bill also contains a number of protections to ensure that employees will be compensated for their overtime work. Employers would be required to pay cash wages to employees with unused, earned comp time at the end of the year. Should a worker who has opted to receive comp time wish to end this arrangement – which they can do at any time - the employer must provide the equivalent amount of cash earned for the accrued comp time within 30 days.
It is long past time to update federal law to ensure that more of America’s parents can access this flexible working arrangement to help them achieve a greater balance between work and family. I will continue to work to find ways to increase workplace flexibility while protecting the rights of workers.
Rep. Miller on Teacher Appreciation Week
As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to a close, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the men and women of the 31st District who have devoted their careers to educating our youth. Teachers play a critical role in a child’s education and development. They know that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders and work tirelessly to prepare their students for future success in and out of the classroom.
The future of our nation is dependent upon a workforce that is prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century economy. That is why improving our nation’s education system remains one of my top legislative priorities. While I continue to believe that we must hold those entrusted with educating our nation’s students accountable, we must also ensure that teachers have the freedom and the support they need to innovate and succeed. As such, I will continue to promote policies that will ensure our nation’s schools have flexibility to meet the needs of their students and support those who have made a commitment to educating future generations.
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