Hoyer, Scott Hold Forum on the Working Families Agenda

BOWIE, MD – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) hosted a Working Families Field Forum with Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03) as a special guest. Local elected leaders, policy experts, and workers joined Congressmen Hoyer and Scott in a discussion on House Democrats’ Working Families Agenda, which includes policy solutions to raise the federal minimum wage, ensure pay equity, and provide paid leave for all workers.

“I was pleased to join Rep. Scott for a field hearing today to explore issues critical to working families in Maryland’s Fifth District and across the country,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Two weeks ago, I traveled to Baltimore to unveil House Democrats’ new Make It In America plan for 2016 and beyond, which aims to help the private sector grow and create good jobs that pay well and offer an onramp to the middle class. While there, I noted that helping to create jobs is only part of the work Congress must undertake. It also has a responsibility to help the workers who fill those jobs – and the ones we have now – not just get by, but get ahead. With wages having failed to keep up with the cost of living, and with education and housing costs rising, many still don’t feel that recovery fully in their own lives. That’s why Rep. Scott and I have been working together with other Democrats in Congress to push for a Working Families Agenda that boosts wages, helps workers create a better balance between work and family, and levels the playing field for working families.”

“I thank today’s panelists for joining us today to discuss how we can ensure that working families can get ahead,” continued Congressman Hoyer. “We’re all very fortunate to have Rep. Bobby Scott as Ranking Member of the Education and Workforce Committee as he pressures Congress to take positive action while also defending against harmful policies put forward by those on the extreme right who want to tell American workers and their families: ‘you’re on your own.’ Instead, Congress ought to have their backs as they navigate the changes the twenty-first century global economy presents.  That is what Rep. Scott and I will continue to fight for in Washington, because everyone who works hard deserves a chance to make it in America.”

“We know that families across the nation are working harder than ever before, but they are still struggling to make ends meet,” said Congressman Scott. “Rather than address the real problems facing working families in our country, this Congress has tried more than 60 times to roll back the Affordable Care Act, repeatedly attempted to block proposals that strengthen workplace protections and benefits, and refused to hold a vote on measures to raise the minimum wage or expand paid leave. In contrast, Maryland has led the way by raising the minimum wage, strengthening protections from pay and pregnancy discrimination, and campaigning for policies to help people balance work and family. Maryland's success shows what is possible when people come together to raise their voices and demand change. Democrats in Congress have a Working Families Agenda that would ensure that no matter where they live, every American has the right to a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, should be able to balance work and family responsibilities, and should be protected from invidious discrimination. It's time for Congress to follow Maryland's lead by getting to work on restoring economic stability for working families.”

Panelists at today’s forum included Maryland State Senator Susan Lee (D-16), Maryland Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-21), Deputy Director of the Job Opportunities Taskforce Melissa Broome, Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor Dr. Heidi Shierholz, and Secretary-Treasurer, Maryland AFL-CIO, Donna Edwards.

The Working Families Agenda is a set of responsible policies that have been introduced in Congress that would strengthen working families and enable them to succeed. The House Democratic Caucus is united behind the Working Families Agenda to:

  • Boost wages by raising the minimum wage, making it possible for workers to bargain for a fair deal at work without being retaliated against, and keeping employers from cheating working people out of their pay by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than employees;
  • Help workers create a better balance between work and family life so that people never have to choose between their income and their health or their children; and
  • Level the playing field by strengthening protections from discrimination so that all workers have a fair shot at success.