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Camp Opening Statement: Hearing on the Impact of the Employer Mandate’s Definition of Full-time Employee on Jobs and Opportunities

January 28, 2014

Good Morning.  Less than 7 months ago, the Administration announced that they would delay the employer mandate for one year.  They acknowledged then what many had been saying since the law passed – the employer mandate is bad for business and, in turn, bad for American workers.  While the Administration offered a brief reprieve from the employer mandate, the pain ObamaCare is inflicting both on job creators and hardworking Americans is only getting worse.  

As the President prepares to deliver his state of the union speech tonight, he will likely, and appropriately, discuss pressing issues facing millions of Americans such as unemployment, education and economic opportunity.  However, what will be missing is the admission that the President’s signature policy achievement is forcing Americans to lose their jobs, have their wages cut, and taking educators out of the classroom.  

The law is increasing costs for families and individuals already struggling in this economy.  Specifically, the 30-hour rule in the health care law, which is the topic of the hearing today, is forcing employers to make the tough decision of cutting hours and workers, and preventing them from growing their businesses.

The people hit the hardest by the law are not bankers, lawyers and doctors.  They are the single mothers working a restaurant job, the college students paying for their own education by working at the local grocery store or the firefighters living down the street.  

In fact, a report by the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education concluded that “those at highest risk are workers in predominately low-wage industries that are right on the cusp of what is considered full-time work under the law.”  These are Americans living paycheck to paycheck, who are already paying more for food and more for their health care, and are now being hurt again by the burdens of the President’s health care law.  According to a new Hoover Institution study, the 30-hour rule will affect over 2.6 million workers making on average under $30,000.  And, almost 90 percent of those impacted do not have college degrees.   

I am sure every Member that sits here today has heard stories from families who have had their hours cut and are now forced to make tough financial decisions.  A faculty member at a community college in my district wrote to me recently and said, “I hold two part time positions…Today, I was informed I cannot continue to do both jobs; because of Obamacare laws.  Beginning in August I will no longer be advising and will lose approximately 1/3 of my income. Last year I bought a house, a house I now fear I will no longer be able to afford.”

Another one of the people I represent in Michigan told his story of struggling to find a job as a result of the law, writing, “I am currently unemployed and seeking work in our greater Mid-Michigan area…After looking for employment for some time now, I have discovered a common theme among many hiring companies in the area; part-time work positions only available.  From what I understand, many employers are now reducing hours, changing full-time positions into multiple part-time staffing, as to avoid…the ACA.”

I hope today we can move past the denials that this law does not affect jobs.  When I read story after story of how the 30-hour rule is cutting hours for adjunct professors, cutting hours for part-time firefighters, for hourly workers, and for low-income Americans struggling to make ends meet – it is hard to deny the reality that this law is hurting average Americans.  The White House does not want to believe it, but we need to understand that the problem is real.  

Republicans are working toward solutions so hardworking Americans do not have to worry about their hours and wages being cut as a result of ObamaCare.  Todd Young’s legislation, the Save American Workers Act, would repeal the 30-hour definition of “full-time employment” and restore the traditional 40-hour definition so we can have more Americans working full-time jobs.  

Getting Americans working again – or at least restoring the number of hours they used to be able to work – should not be a partisan issue.  Both parties should be able to come together to ensure that we remove barriers to job growth and wage increases.  The best thing we could do is repeal the entire law, but that cannot and should not deter us from looking at specific pieces of the law, which is what we will do today.