COMMITTEE LOOKS FORWARD AFTER A YEAR OF LANDMARK EDUCATION & LABOR SUCCESSES
With new leadership in Congress, 2007 was a year of victories for America's families. The Education and Labor Committee worked to:
1. Make college more affordable and accessible, while protecting students and parents from unscrupulous lenders, including:
- Enacting the single largest increase in college aid since the GI bill, at no new cost to taxpayers.
- Encouraging colleges to rein in price increases and clean up corrupt practices in student loan programs.
2. Enhance early childhood education by improving the Head Start program:
- Helping more children arrive at school ready to succeed by improving teacher and classroom quality, expanding access to Head Start for more children, improving comprehensive services for children in Head Start and their families, and ensuring that taxpayer dollars only fund Head Start centers that are well-run and high-quality.
3. Protect workers by preserving workers wages, including:
- Enacting the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, increasing the minimum wage for the lowest paid 13 million Americans.
- Passing legislation to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that made it harder for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.
- Preserving prevailing wage requirements for federally-funded construction projects.
4. Protect workers by preserving rights, including:
- Passing the Employee Free Choice Act to enable workers to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions by restoring their rights to form unions.
- Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit employment discrimination,
preferential treatment, and retaliation on the basis of sexual orientation by employers with 15 or more employees.
- Voting to restore bargaining rights to skilled, professional and trades workers.
- Passing a bill to extend collective bargaining rights to public safety workers in all 50 states.
5. Protect workers by preserving workplace safety, including:
- Voting to make the workplace safer for miners.
- Passing a bill to protect food flavoring workers from severe lung disease ("popcorn lung").
6. Protect workers by preserving health coverage, including:
- Passing a bill to provide leave time to military families.
- Voting to give Americans better access to mental health treatment.
- Passing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act to protect personal genetic information from discriminatory use by health insurers and employers.
7. Protect American workers in an international economy, including:
- Passing a bill to assist workers affected by international trade.
- Passing a bill to rein in unscrupulous foreign labor recruiters.
8. Strengthen the economy through innovation by:
- Enacting the 21st Century Competitiveness Act to make major investments in education and job training programs to help encourage America’s innovative spirit and strengthen the nation’s economic competitiveness.
- Enacting legislation to prepare workers for "green collar" jobs to fight global warming.
9. Revive and protect communities through education and service, including:
- Providing aid to Gulf Coast area schools devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
- Voting to renew and improve national community service and volunteer programs.