Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Rep. Jim McGovern Headshot

GOP Bill Destroys Jobs; Offers Disturbing Standards for Workers' Voting Rights

Posted: Updated:

Here we go again. Instead of bringing meaningful legislation to create jobs to the floor of the House, the new Republican majority continues to show just how out-of-touch they are.

Two weeks ago it was cutting off funding for NPR. Yesterday it was private school vouchers in Washington, D.C.

But today's FAA Reauthorization bill is even worse. Because this bill actually destroys jobs.

H.R. 658 cuts almost $2 billion from the Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants to airports for constructing and improving runways and terminals.

This provision alone will cost us 70,000 jobs over the course of this four-year reauthorization period.

H.R. 658's reduced funding levels will result in the layoffs of hundreds of safety inspectors, engineers and support personnel.

But this bill is more than just a job destroyer. In addition to the inadequate funding levels, this bill continues a disturbing Republican trend toward destroying the collective bargaining rights for American workers.

From Wisconsin to Ohio to Maine, we have seen how Republican politicians are attempting to destroy a century of hard-fought labor protections. This bill represents more of the same.

The bill would reverse a National Mediation Board rule that allows a majority of those voting in aviation and rail union elections to decide the outcome.

Instead, Tea Party extremists want to count workers who chose not to vote as automatic "no's" against the union.

I wonder if my friends on the other side of the aisle would be willing to use that same standard in congressional elections?

I wonder if they'd agree that every registered voter who didn't vote -- for whatever reason -- last November would automatically be counted as a"no" vote against them. I doubt it.

Because in the 2010 midterm elections, 40.9 percent of eligible voters cast ballots nationwide.

Under the standard in this bill, not a single current member of Congress would have won election last year. Not one.

If this standard doesn't make sense for Members of Congress -- if we're unwilling to use it on ourselves -- then it isn't fair for working people trying to organize.