tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 7, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST
driving the share price up. that is the challenges that we have that is the culture that we have. it is the mindset to say that is what is happening every company that they have to drive down the cost because of financial market will punish them. that is why small businesses different but 50 years ago we did not have a place and not be punished by the process to minimize every
single one in though long-term the international library fund with lower growth not higher growth. it is normal and that is the way it is. maybe it is not policy decisions. >> so i will pose the same question knighted earlier we know the game is rigged. two bacon incentives never hurts workers how do we change that is specially with wisconsin with the governor that is actively
anti-union powdery change that culture and politics in the system? wisconsin is ground zero in many ways. i have a community where we have been in a decades-long recession and even as we talk about spending opportunity particular people of color in immigrants their heads never been a 40 hour work week. sova talk about reforming the fundamental nature of work we have lessons to learn from the people who were in the struggle and dealing with it for decades. we talk about 2008 when the bottom fallout for the
middle-class. the of leaders that we see emerging come from communities that there was never a middle-class to begin with so there are lessons to learn about these innovative models. said now with a hybrid organization so we go and fight with working conditions as a union with issues and that now they're marching for racial justice to shut down the freeways are shopping malls. that is the same system to allow men to be killed in the street. >> that mindset is important
to break down the barriers to access is important and how people understand but it is what you and your co-workers do together that is when you build an incredible movement that cannot be a stopped because politicians don't vote the right way. so then show up at their house and next day and refused to leave that is what workers of wisconsin are doing here going to governor walker's house to the corporate leaders houses and say you make my life to an inconvenient every day. don't let anyone tell you that low-wage service sectors is not hard work. has a lot of value to the tune of billions or trillions of dollars.
in the productivity continues to rise. but 1980 until now that wages stay here. so what happens in that gap? that when set in the pocket of the upper 1% but where do they go without money? because there is a bunch of wild to not only benefit the nation as whole and the conversation needs to come back but ultimately it will
for a not over the kitchen table. what does it mean with immigration policy or wage policy or access to health care policies what kind of committee you want to live in? and one-year or decades from now or 40 years from now. because that is deeply in the dna of american culture and the noise that is perpetrated from wall street thinking is just a gdp of profits but what really matters i with my life with dignity.
reality that we have so what is the strategy to raise wages? and though rice started and ended to organize organize organize. is the best way to raise wages and fight in committee quality is to grow the labor movement. we know that with the collective bargaining agreements every day. each of us has said with their lobbyists and legislative advocate and the organizers everything we do is that when we're in the state capitol lobbying for legislation like the
secretary if it is not in this classification it is all that it is. so they are part of the fight for six days so then go back to the shop floor to say we have power together to make real change in people's everyday lives. we. they have the strongest in bigger worker protection a better watch my bank which share. [laughter] can i say screwed? [laughter] screwed over every single day at work. and then the strongest protections for immigrant workers accused immigration status of retaliation to put you gotta of business it is
morally and economically wrong. [applause] deal the way we can use these progressive policies the old ways to bring workers voices in to the state capital raising wages means to organize. >> before being your first of all, of was elected to the house in 1997 talk about raising minimum-wage which we did now talking about paid is it days and how we will make the economy al gore talked about the lock box and was talked about
again and again and again four years later. now with is that 2 percent but these things that were important that were set up this stage it was people have to start understanding that work is the investment. that conversation as we have to start katchis like in the '50s when he retired with the annuity plan because they had all the benefits so
they understand when they get on the train with a coffee shop that we just opened and a brand-new coffee shop in to say i pay a living wage but we have to explain to the american worker to support the american economy and the second piece, i will give the states of the city for city hall. one of the winds is thinking the employees are all the work that they do. [applause] >> that is a radical thing. and not saying we don't keep
fighting but i say the same things. did everything that her opponents. if we truly want to change though wage gap it increase wages we cannot just and up because if you're on the outside looking in and the lot get the profit margin. but talking about a true change but in light of that ferguson verdict. and my door is open. it is about getting into the boardroom.
car but workers made a profit to to go back to the story about my father when the annuity statements come out they look at that with a 5% increase or 3% loss. just like corporate america talks about it but that individual worker that there is a loss there. to have them be see that as an investment day understand they are an investment. >> last chance for questions or comments so they start to hand them and they will get your questions.
>> if we don't organize the work place because what happens you may go to your fellow workers to show what the union has to offer. but that is the influence that one of the mistakes we have always made is we blended on the work floor. and will be valued as a worker. to think it is a competitive advantage. but if you looked at the growth of volkswagen.
so you can see that as an example but it to organize that is the big point. >> in of that adversarial relationship does not necessarily exist i go through my work day and the primary goal so we have policies in place and every once in awhile and we think this policy that nobody ever asked before and never thought about that.
and those conversations that every worker needs the business to think what is in the best interest of the company to think that they would share in the prosperity but there are promises being made to go to that community to people of color there because to be a labor to have these positions but it is hard for
us in labor to take a white person into a black community this is what the unions do for you. it has nothing to do with race but if we cannot admit that. there are opportunities and i want to see people with those types of things we don't want to talk about. [applause] >> this is the point for someone who is not educated then we have a long ways to
go. [applause] i appreciate you saying that. because with communities of color to take money from wal-mart to be off the agenda. suss to evade its economic and racial justice. >> to have an incredible conversation last night and then to see nothing to engaged demand you need to stay in this had you build power and unity?
to go out to world community's? but as somebody is a different race or class to talk about the future we want for our country. with a have a lot of money were at the same thing. we can build that together. >> not just keep being a hour compass but we have these issues with like-minded people. we might have to get uncomfortable.
what would be transformative >> wanting to make clear to everyone one of the saying that separates us we have looked at unions from the top. it is a very basic solution that allows it to make it easier to help raise rates but in this moment but it is under assault but to actually raise wages in the country this is the point in
this room but to make it clear these are not rights for individual workers it is how we get economic growth for the economy over the long term. so that makes clear so is in tennessee those do get the shaft. >> i am struck by that question how do have this chance formative moment? i don't come to this side to lofted maybe for good or bad
reasons. but if we're going to face gridlock at of washington and. then we have to change what we're doing. number one 1/2 to stop asking for politicians. and then to pick up the phone and called the boss. [applause] because public policy is not cutting it. on the inside and the outside but perhaps we should look at making federal law to give us in the 50 states to build better policy. mitt take said national labor relations act and let
us do better. find ways for states to create innovation to pursue at the cutting edge of public policy reform for the rest of the country. [applause] >> i just want to jump in. happening across every city and town across the country and some people are wrong but i don't think the majority understand there is no wage gap and that goes back to the investment. if we have a conversation like this we are watching. to begin is a wisconsin bill that we did learn but unfortunately that was
ground zero again. that i do think a conversation like this it doesn't have to be mayor of the city with professors and actresses but just a group of people but what is going on in quincy massachusetts or nebraska. that is what we have to do to have people talk about it. >> i want to ask the patrick -- actress. [laughter] you are in the business of storytelling. what is happening going forward to the country? >> let the mayor was saying
that is important about getting on the bus telling the story to each other and that forum to be as formal as this with the lack of knowledge with other people with your community those that may not understand that is going on for them. that gives people courage to growing organization and both could be implemented and i am appalled by of on the same bus as you guys. >> bid to reach out to in that is how you grow in not
just social media but to ask the question. [applause] >> we're getting to the question is from the audience. if you can respond to this. may give you have workplace policies or many employers i meant to say but you are reluctant to support public policies for labor standards how do we encourage them to speak up and raise wages and advance economic justice? >> it is rooted in the conversation a shared prosperity. in data lot of encouragement
and talk gave tucson and players like collective bargaining that is good for everyone else but it is part of breaking through the conversation that does not need to be adversarial. and that codetermination model there are laws that prohibit them from happening. there is not a quick fix or a magic bullet their deep structural issues that needed to be talked about in that context of a shared prosperity but i talked to a dow talking to an employee going to s. c. johnson and she had already it left and was there six months is she said the biggest difference
is after five years anything we ever talked about had a 90 day window. because the conversation is stock -- talked to the stock price but we talk about a five-year impact. there is a power to be unleashed. and then if you have wanted thousand people and moving along that line business owners ultimately lead to see profit but it doesn't need to be with an investment of machinery but
work three jobs in order to just get by. in there were racial and gender gaps that workman the key solution? collective bargaining. when it you are unionized so to address the problem. >> can't exactly what you said you'll have to worry about sex or race when the job is posted a you have a contract it is posted based
on seniority your ability that is another vantage the levels the playing field for everyone involved. soap flakes to economic security --. >> so the economic security affecting a the workplace and one was child care. so when the market dropped out my husband was said real-estate we lost everything. our house went into foreclosure but what allowed me to stay in school wisconsin had a program called wisconsin share child care to help working mothers pay for the enormous cost of child care.
and the mayor of york is talking about early childhood education but we should have universal child care. [applause] so you expect that both of those people working to support their family. so we need to be a country if we expect everyone to work everyday to make sure they have adequate ways to take care of their children even with the economic security. [applause]
but the value of the workers may be negative percent women but it with my parents and future children it has to be a conversation. but it is also potentially really great jobs. another question from twitter the main argument is increasing the minimum wage how to read and they gave this message? >> it just isn't true. [laughter] >> show was where it happens. but any time we raise the minimum wage job loss
happens because we don't reinvest it back into the country. that is when it happens we've raised minimum wage from $8 an hour up at $9 an hour and i of anticipating the job gains will be big with the ticket -- economic indicator and certainly we can say we will not have a loss of jobs unless something tragic happens but it just doesn't happen in. but that conversation on minimum-wage hike goes back to the question before that in two-thirds of those making minimum-wage or less. , but when i took over john kennedy had a commission on women.
as the greatest workers in the world what we're doing. [applause] we lost in the '70s and '80s it is coming back now because we're the most educated so why can't we treat people fairly? that will make the economy better than it is today. there has been numerous studies and they did not see a job decline in those areas? so they send you more than
they create demand to create more jobs. and it is important to job growth. to say if you do anything for the worker increasingly actually helps over the long term. and it is predominant but it is about shifting in that conversation. >> i still appreciate that but to go on with all the idioms studies. [laughter] and that theory it shows that there is knocked job loss but often increase is.
but the last time i checked in the sky is not falling and it is the most frustrating so mr. business leader. so the evidence is right-handed is good for business? >> we have day facto minimum-wage and that will go $12 an hour. so how we convince business owners? so that is what they talk about. end if you have the large work force such talk about raising the wages so what
are you asking them to do? to save maybe in the short term but to rate those productivity i will invest a little bit more. and then to make all of this new for word. is this is why they hire. there is only one reason they hire anybody. the secret is we would all like businesses to run with one employee. if they could do all the work that would be great. [laughter] but what happens he says i cannot do this by myself so we hire another now with those great tune the sales or hear.
then we say i cannot provide the same customer service with 25 employees is my sales are up 50 percent aideed 30 employees. so you have to break through the short term moment to say let's look at what this unleashes. looking at what we do with our businesses. tsa if you believe that you are free to pay over that is not the point. but it is not the same $12. [applause] >> the final question from you whoever you wrote this i will ask all of you to respond briefly.
>> but i do want to take with other people have said to recognize and to have big battles particularly in the south that these have not been fully engaged. sarah recognize the brothers and sisters who are not getting anywhere close to 10 than it had won a lose the fight for them over making yourselves feel better and working full time below poverty.
>> i agree that it should be raised and also of the information you cannot raise a family when working full-time minimum-wage i did not know that until i came here people or working full-time minimum-wage jobs and putting information out there. people would be shocked as this is the part of the community you want to live in. i cannot wait to tell everyone. >> so elected officials such two-step bid up and not be scared at a political level.
>> we need to be bolder in raw they are bold and actions and how we elect them and is concentrating its the of a working family party of wisconsin we are talking about the local communities so talking about a movement of elected officials instead to bring about change in their communities i don't want to get in trouble but i will
say it is the way it starts with the idea that thinking and we never presume front runner and if we don't accept that logic to say that they beat our days before we hand them a presidency. [applause] so not even the democratic issue said whoever runs for whatever party we're doing what we need to do. >> it is not a democratic or republican argument why a
our welfare or food stamps a conservative argument? going back to a new governor of illinois we are out of time. we have given the media and enough fodder to write about. please join me to think our panel. [applause] mary is coming back and along with richard part of that conversation earlier all of that panel richard trumka has been a very local fighter for justice speaking out on race so we appreciate you. don't go anywhere we're coming back and we have free
>> momentum is on our side and we don't want to lose said. time to put those into action and as the final speaker will make clear that power is said our hands to make a difference. together we can and we will create an economy that works for everyone. to introduce our final speaker a member of the international union of painters and allied trades local 1274 in connecticut. [applause] >> afternoon. it is said great honor to
introduce our next speaker. we'll be first to say i am not a very good speech giver [laughter] >> i have a different trade. i am a glaser and class mechanic in germany. the job i was working on an elementary school in stratford connecticut. it is neither new town fiscal that i was building was named after one of the teachers who died that day. as you can probably hear in my voice, my work and my job
and my community means a lot to me. i of a union member but also has spent and a father and we have four kids to boys and two girls. my family and my community was active in the labor movement the way i see it we cannot ever give up. [applause] is not really a choice for me. i was laid off a year-and-a-half ago back in
the worst of the great recession. but i did not give up and i will not let up now. that is why i am not there with of political campaign is season to pass out fliers and knocking on doors to get the right leaders elected who will raise wages and that is why i am standing with the fast-food workers and everybody else to help the people get to the right to wages and lift themselves up. that is also by i am so proud and honored to introduce our necks speaker.
those who put raising wages on the front burner. a hand the labor movement and is as smart as they come he feels it it his heart and i will follow him everywhere he leads. brothers and sisters please welcome afl-cio president richard trumka. [applause] >> once saying he did not say about himself he puts it more volunteer chefs with the last election with on
workers everywhere and it's not easy i know to take off work take off from your job to come here to leave your homes and come to washington d.c. and to be part of something like this. we really want to thank you. and i want to say to ray painters district council 11 chantel fast food lisa right there maryland correction officers with the afscme local 1427 dr. kolbe i know he's around here somewhere who is with our walmart. mike cantrell of uaw local 42 the kia wilson of the detroit federation of teachers and leon zeller of the aew local 26. i just want to say you really do have my special thanks.
by heartfelt thanks for your involvement here today because it reminds everyone what wages is all about. it's about real lives and that's why this is so awfully important for all of us to take on and carry forward. i want to thank senator elizabeth warren. i have to tell you she's an inspiration. [applause] a vision of a her raising wages america embodies our highest ideals and senator warren is that rare a little goal leader and she shares our values and really connects with us and she is a genius when it comes to policy and she is tough as nails when it comes to politics. we want to thank you because uis have been and you always will be
a remarkable remarkable champion for working people. i want to thank you for that. [applause] and to the roundtable members i was blown away. i mean it was incredible. the interaction, what we learned learned, the heartfelt stories that were told but just things that happened. jennifer when you said many workers, immigrants and people of color in our communities have never made it to the middle class. i mean that was a startling revelation. i hadn't really thought about it in those terms. many of us have been fortunate enough to get there. some unfortunate enough to fall back out but to never have been
there and really have no hope it was really a telling moment. thank you for sharing that with each and every one of us. i think it's so very important. you know i have been to a lot of conferences and workshops in my life some of which i can't think of a single thing that was said there and things like that but i have never witnessed anything like this roundtable because it was an open discussion with people from every corner of this movement. a worker talking with the think tank president. you had a mere learning from an activist. you have a small business owner sharing ideas with all of us so it was refreshing and important and i really believe that american politics needs this to
happen much more often than just today. so we are going to try to replicate that. and speaking of mayors a big thanks to my friend and my union brother maher walsh. i know he's around. marty runs a big city. [applause] marty runs a big city that he came to be with us today on this roundtable and the thing i love most about him is he never forgot that he is a worker first. he treats his employees everybody in that city with absolute dignity. we need more mayors like marty walsh, don't you agree? [applause] and piper at wanted to thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to come and share your thoughts with us and your
activism with us. most of all when he sat there and said i owe it back to people because they helps me and i want to help them. if everyone in our country could live by that same simple code we would all be better off so thank you. [applause] last summer when we decided to put the summit together we knew three things. once again our productivity was up and their wages were flat. american workers were creating more and more and more wealth for every hour that we worked and most of us were slipping back again. the same story over and over year after year with more and more stuff. number two despite the grim and
chronic news or maybe because of it there's something happening in america. workers really are beginning to say enough. they are beginning to say that. we are beginning to rise up and come together to reject the idea that there's nothing we can do about falling wages. we are tired of people talking about inequality as if nothing can be done about it. the answer is simple. raise the wages of 90% of americans whose wages are lower today than they were in 1997. families do not need to hear more about income inequality. they need more income. that's what we need. [applause] him and three, no matter what happened in the 2014 midterm
elections 2015 will be a pivotal year. it will be the year that politicians decided to stand up strong or to retreat afraid of responsibility. to be very very clear about what we need or to be murky saying a little of that, a little of that that, a lot of maybe, kind of, sort of to build our nations future or to protect their own backsides with caution and with corporate cash. that will be their decision this year. so here we are in january 7 right at the start of the new year to declare a raising wages agenda. the elements are contained in
the comprehensive policy framework that we are releasing today. we intended to serve as a guidepost for all policymakers and all political candidates. we want to know more about what you think about these issue but what you will do about these issues. and if you want to see us on election day we want to see you out there in the fight for 15 with the great folks at our walmart and the fairpoint strikers. [applause] that's accountability. officeholders and candidates it comes down to a very basic question. are you satisfied? are you satisfied with an america where the vast majority
worked harder and harder or less and less? or do you propose to build an america where we the people share in the wealth that we actually create. and this is the single standard by which we will judge leadership in the years to come. and the key word there is we. we know that simple transactional politics are really a dead-end that no one of us can do this all alone. we must unify on a common ground and raise the bar and then get out there and raise it even higher. you see in the past couple of years i have seen collaboration like never before in the progressive world.
at the afl-cio convention we made our 2013 convention transformational by including hundreds and hundreds of people of color and organizations who had never been before to a laker convention. we wanted to help unite the labor movement with all of those out there who share a vision of a better america. we hope for exactly what you have heard here today, people who share our vision of a better america, coming together and getting things done. faith leaders partnered with activists to organize unions economist and working american field organizers who stood together to increase the minimum wage. business leaders who raise their
voices with workers to create reasonable work schedules and on and on and on. you see we have to make it happen. we have to organize around a common purpose and that's what raising wages is all about. this summit is more than raising wages. it's about what wages represent. it's a philosophy, it's a vision and it's an agenda all rolled into one. it's a philosophy as old as america itself. the people of america should share in the wealth that we create. and it's an agenda for change that starts with the absolute truth that no one, no one should make less than the minimum wage
and everyone should make a living wage and collective bargaining should be available to every single worker out there whether you are in a union or you are not in a union yet you should have the ability to bargain collectively for a better life for higher wages. [applause] but it's an agenda that must go far broader and deeper and deeper than not because raising wages requires a comprehensive economic agenda. it means trade policy that lifts incomes in america and around the world rather than pitting workers against each other in a race to the bottom. it means strong modern labor laws that gives everyone who
works in america a real opportunity to bargain for higher wages without fear. it means treating wall street like it is part of america not above america. it means allowing workers to demand and when work schedules and paid sick leave and overtime paychecks and raising wages means ending all tax benefits for companies that move jobs offshore. [applause] there are many elements on the raising wages agenda. quality public education, secure retirement equal pay and more. but i want to single out two subjects that we don't automatically think about as work and wage issues.
and that's immigration and race. let me put it plainly. our ways -- raising wages campaign can only be complete when there is justice for america's immigrants and people of color. [applause] we must have a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants that are here and we must be a country of dignity for all people regardless of race or ethnicity. justice at work injustice in our community are totally intertwined and both must advance for either one of them to grow. [applause] so this is how the work begins. at the end of this marvelous day
our challenges are pretty clear. we have come together in a collective voice and we are ready to go to work and in that spirit i'm announcing the afl-cio is launching an ambitious raising wages call to action. now the foundation and first call to action is simple. it's something i said earlier. raising wages is the single standard by which leadership will be judged. that means accountability and it starts with something that we all understand and that's presidential politics. in 2015, the afl-cio and its state partners will hold raising wage some it's just like this one in the first four presidential primary states iowa, new hampshire, nevada and south carolina.
[applause] and we are not going to wait around. we are not going to wait around to do that. the first day summit will be in iowa this spring and each summit will bring together diverse voices just as we did today to lay out the entire raising wages platform and establish state-based standards of accountability so that raising wages becomes the issue that any candidate who seeks their support must address. not just to feel our pain but tell how we are going to raise wages for every last american out there. [applause] our second call to action with everything we have heard at the summit today will bring to life but we heard repeatedly that no one can do it alone.
so just as we have begun to undertake a number of coalition initiatives in five southern cities over the past year beginning tomorrow, we'll connect the raising wages campaign to seven additional cities around the country. columbus, ohio, st. louis missouri philadelphia pennsylvania, atlanta georgia, san diego california, the d.c. metro area and minneapolis minnesota starting tomorrow. [applause] you see for several months we have worked with our affiliates and their community partners to determine where we could have the most impact and each of the seven cities will stand together with our progress is already at work and bring important energy
ideas and resources to those critical battles and fight to raise the wages of all citizens, all workers in the seven cities. you see these seven cities which identify today are just the start of a longer-term effort to concentrate our work where we'll be the most significant. that work will take many forms and it will go in many directions because raising wages as a living, searching idea and there is no shortage to the need need. workers organizing and bargaining to raise wages, a faith-based project that helps immigrants navigate their work status a city council living wage campaign nurses and neighborhood groups fighting for paid sick leave and equal pay on
the job and all that and more. we have worked out many preliminary plans with their affiliates and their partners and we are eager. i mean very eager to turn up the heat in each one of those cities and to begin judging those leaders by the standards that i've laid out. i spent my life in the labor movement so for me raising wages is grounded in one idea and that's our collective voice. the best way to raise wages is to protect workers full rights too engaged in collective bargaining and to hold employers accountable for violations of these rights. people may have forgotten that the law of the united states
the law of our land says that they must promote the rights of workers to organize and to bargain collectively. not obstruct, not tolerate but promote those rights. as a first step the labor movement will work with our allies on strong federal legislation that establishes very tough punishment for employers who retaliate against workers whether it's our walmart or anywhere else to provide appropriate remedies for workers who were unjustly treated as we heard today from kolbe harris with our walmart. america needs to explore every avenue and to bring our workplace laws into the 21st century and ensure that the
collective voice is a powerful tool and not just an abstract idea, that it's an achievable right and not one that is they are on paper only. because the collective voice is a powerful tool and in america it's the only tool to bring about lasting justice. i want to ask each of you to embody the democratic ideas to work with the fervor that's in your heart, to push her capacity and to always ask why not? what's next? and is not possible? because that is what today is all about acting on what's possible. not waiting, not watching not
wishing that acting. as we bring the summit to a close let's remember that raising wages is not a hobby it's our mission. this is a beginning, not an ending so let's make it a beginning that all of america will feel the impact of. i want to extend my very deep thanks and gratitude to our host the university and to everyone here especially the members of my executive board that are here and to all of those of you watching on the internet. you have chosen to be a big part of a very big solution and i know i know that together we are going to make it happen and
2015 is going to be the year that chart starts to bend upward for the wages of working americans each and everyone of us that are out there. god bless you, work hard and let's make it happen. [applause] >> brothers and sisters another round of applause for president trumka and for all of our wonderful speakers today. [applause] this was an awesome event. i know i am fired up. are you fired up? i didn't hear you. are you fired up? if you are fired up share what you learn today. the video of this event will be
>> the newly-elected 114th congress gaveled in this week. republicans now have 246 members in six members in the house. their largest majority since the 1928 elections. they also won a majority in the senate with 54 seats. the new senate majority leader mitch mcconnell talks about what he hopes to achieve in the coming months. >> yesterday
we inaugurated the 114th senate of the united states congress. we welcome the fact many dedicated members and swore in many new ones. i have high hopes for our new colleagues. they share the results of my conference to restore the senate
to a place of high purpose or they are determined to make a positive difference in the lives of the people who send them here here. the men and women we just swore in have made a significant change already and that's majority we seated yesterday. i look to this new beginning with optimism and a profound sense of purpose and i look to my colleagues and gratitude for their trust. next to serving the people of kentucky this is the highest of honors. i recognize the serious expectations of the american people and i know they are counting on us. and i do mean all of us every single member of this body. we are in a moment of great anxiety as a nation. the people we represent have lost faith in their government. they no longer trust washington to do the right thing.
many face the reality of the losing health plans after being told otherwise. many struggle with rising medical costs after washington officials repeatedly said they would be lower. confidence in the american dream has plunged. anxiety about the type of country we leave to the next generation is widespread and for many it never has seemed more difficult just to get by. when americans look overseas they see a world filled with chaos. instability whirling in the middle east terrorists pressing an aggressive agenda and autocrats stopping at a superpower that doesn't seem to have a real plan. at home they see a government that these either uninterested or incapable of addressing their concerns government that seems to be working for itself instead of them.
whether it's washington's dysfunction or after receipt that is so byzantine and unaccountable it tried to muzzle political opponents and ignore the needs of veterans. the american people have simply had enough mr. president and this past november they had their say. the message they sent was clear. if voters hit the brakes four years ago this time they spun the wheel. they said they want the administration to change course and move to the middle. they said they want congress to send legislation to the president that addresses their concerns. this november the american people did and asked for government that tries to do everything and fails and they didn't demand a government that asks to do nothing and succeeds.
they asked simply for government that works. they want a government of the 21st century one that functions with efficiency and accountability confidence and purpose. they want a washington that is more interested in modernizing and streamlining government than adding more layers to it and they want more jobs more opportunity for the middle class and more flexibility in a complex age with complex demands demands. that is why we plan to pursue common sense jobs ideas including those with bipartisan support, things like performing a broken tax system to make it simpler and friendlier to job creation. opening more markets to american made products so we can create more jobs here at home and
moving forward with bipartisan infrastructure projects like the keystone xl pipeline. americans are changing this congress and this president. what they are saying to us, they are challenging us this congress and this president who work for them. they are challenging lawmakers lawmakers -- lawmakers in washington to work for jobs for americans not just jobs for themselves. seems simple enough but in may and in the air of divided government control we are going to have to work hard to meet expectations and we are going to have to work together. step one is getting congress functioning again. that means fixing the senate. last session the house and over countless common sense bipartisan bills. too many of them died right here without so much as a hearing and senators from both parties with ideas for jobs and growth were routinely salvaged so it's time
to change the business model. we need to return to regular order. we need to get committees working again. we need to recommit to a rational functioning appropriations process. we need to open up open up the legislative process in a way that allows more members from both sides. sometimes it's going to be mean working actually more often. sometimes it's going to be meaning, it will mean working late but restoring the senate is the right thing to do and it's the practical thing to do because we are only going to pass meaningful legislation when members of both parties are given a stake in the outcome. that's the genius of regular order. that's the genius of the senate. i'm reminded of this every time i walk into my office.
on the wall are portraits of john sherman cooper a republican and john bartlett a democrat. below is a bust of henry clay. each of these senators and each of these kentuckians came from a different political party. each viewed view the world through different ideological lens but all of them believed in the senate and all of them left behind important lessons for today. clay about putting country the country first in pursuing principled compromise. cooper about choosing when to make a stand and making it and berkeley barkley about having the courage to think differently than a president from the same party he served dutifully for years. lessons like those at go into the presence and they help mark the way toward a better
functioning government. a senate and the congress that functions again will help move us pass an arab government in crisis. it doesn't mean everything will be perfect. it doesn't mean we will never come up against a deadline and it doesn't mean we will always agree but together we can commit to change in the way washington operates. this can be done. it can be done. the senate has seemed imperfect at moments but it has proven a place of high purpose at many other times, a place where country is come together to confront great challenges and advanced solutions the one seemed completely out of reach. that's the senate i saw when i watched senator cooper in the civil rights act that he believed never would have passed that as a senator passed that as a senator so and president reagan democratic leaders to
pass major reforms to social security. that's the senate i saw one a republican congress worked with president clinton to pass historic welfare reform. the promise of the senate is real. time and time again it has been an engine for bipartisan achievement to which both parties can assume either credit or blame and that is how we should view it today. so yes, the american people elected divided government but that doesn't mean they don't want us to accomplish anything. if there is a well-to-do so we can come together to achieve great things and if president obama is interested in a historic achievement of his own this can be his time as well. he has very indicated a willingness to work with us on trade and infrastructure and comprehensive tax reform.
these efforts are going to require a lot of work. navigating the political pitfalls won't be easy but passing these types of things would represent a win for the american people. winds that we could all be proud of. it chooses we could work for bigger things to map. we could work together to save and strengthen medicare to protect social security for future generations, to balance a budget and put their growing national debt to past-due elimination. bipartisan reform can only be achieved if if president obama is interested in it. the president is the only one who can bring his party on board board. he's the only one obviously you can sign something the congress sends him and i assure you threatening to veto a jobs and infrastructure but within
minutes of a new congress taking the oath of office, built with strong bipartisan support is anything but productive. i appreciate that bipartisan compromise may not come easily for the president. it's not his first inclination. the president's supporters are pressing for militancy these days, not compromise. they are demanding the complex of purity over the duties of progress. from d.c. to montpellier they see the limits of an exhausted 20th century mindset exerting itself great even when nearly every level, every lever of power has been at hand and across the atlantic they see the sunsetting on the social democratic idea. they see the tragic legacies of welfare states, empty promises and fear of the future.
so it's understandable why the president's supporters might want to retreat to pass come first but now is the time to accept reality right now is the time to actually move forward. americans know that democracy isn't about what you can get away with. it's about what you can achieve together. many in this body understand that on both sides of the aisle. i've talked to many colleagues on the other side who understand this fully. we are calling on the president to ignore the voices of reaction and to join us. whatever he decides that this congress is going to function again. let's pass legislation that focuses on jobs and the real
concerns of the middle class. after so many years of sluggish growth we are finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope. the uptick appears to coincide
with the biggest political change of the obama is administration's long tenure in washington. the expectation of a
new republican congress. so this is precisely the time to advance a positive pro-growth agenda. some of the measures the new congress passes may seem significant. others may seem modest. that's okay. as we have seen in recent years a bigger bill doesn't always mean a better bill and while we are always going to search for areas where we can agree the president may not be enamored of every bill we passed. that's okay too. it's not our job to protect the president from good ideas. a little creative tension between the executive in the legislature can be a pretty healthy thing in a democracy like ours. presidents and congress have
disagreed before. they have confronted challenges that it clips the ones we see today. what is important to remember is that the senate has always endured, always. and we have a duty to restore it now so that we can meet the mandates of the people who sent us here. former majority leader howard baker once noted making the senate work is like trying to make 99 independent souls act in concert under rules that result in polite -- and yet he also said it doesn't take clay's and webster st. albans to make the senate work. it simply takes men and women of honor working in the spirit of good faith. it may be difficult but mr. president it's been done before and it can be done again. and we are going to get there. it helps to recall in his
footsteps we walk today. this is the same chamber where dirksen and mansfield allied for historic progress. this is where byrd group from antiquity to rall's colleagues to present challenges and where in later years he would critique successors on the finer points of procedure. this is where mitchell on the skills they need to bring warring communities together. enemies who responded to critics not just before speeches are press conferences but actually live ammunition. this is where dole showed -- shared war stories with inouye and with the faithful tap on the shoulder where he would partner with moynihan in their effort to reform social security.
the names of many senators who have come before us are etched into the task we set out today. the men and women who preceded us include future presidents and vice presidents. they include former athletes veterans and astronauts. we have forgotten some. we remember others but their legacy live on. here is how senator claude pepper put it. the senate he said is inefficient, on wielding and inconsistent. it has foibles. its vanities, its members that are great and those who think they are great but like democracy is strong. it has survived many changes. it has saved the country from many catastrophes and it is a
safeguard against any form of tyranny. in the last analysis pepper said the senate is probably the price we in america have to pay for liberty. for everything senator pepper and i may not have agree don, we certainly agreed on that. in the same way each of us here may not agree on every issue. we may be republican we may be democrat but we are americans. we each have a responsibility to make the senate function and we each have a duty to work for the people who sent us here in serious times to get serious results. so let's restore the senate we love. let's look for areas of agreement when we can and above all let's make washington work
again for the people that we
serve. senate minority leader harry reid who suffered broken bones in his face and three broken ribs from an accident during a workout last week. while the worker priest democratic whip dick durbin is filling in for him in the senate. he read a statement from senator reid discussing democrats legislative priorities for the 114 congress. >> mr. president i'm going to read a statement to into the record from minority leader senator reid but before i would like to preface that reading by saying i believe on the side of the aisle this senators serving on the democratic side are committed to the traditions the precedence in the rules of the united states senate. we of course will work to preserve this great institution and to protect our own individual rights and responsibilities in the senate.
i welcome with senator mcconnell our new majority leader has envisioned as a more active floor in the senate where we do not run into lengthy and repeated filibusters but in fact bring amendments to the floor, debate them vote on them and ultimately pass legislation. that is the procedure of the senate which historically fell sadly into disrepair over the last several years. though we hope that our minority status in the senate is short-lived i think that we will establish that the democrats are much better minority when it comes to the senate then perhaps those on the other side of the aisle. only time will tell. and now i would like to read into the record a statement from the democratic leader, harry reid which will be part of the opening remarks.
senator reid says as follows. as some already now i had a mishap in my home last week while exercising. as a result of sustained several broken bones in my face and ribs ribs. as bad as that sounds i'm doing well and recovering quickly senator reid says. i regret i am not on the senate floor to make these remarks in person but my doctors have urged caution and ordered me to stay home while i recuperate. i thank my assistant democratic leader for delivering my remarks today. there's nothing permanent except change printer nations elections prove that every two years. this is one of those times that has changed for the senate and our country. the desks of the chamber then rearrange committee assignments adjusted and a new majority is in control for the next two years. in other words it's just another wednesday in january the start of a new congress. for all the changes and duties
are to germane the same. we are here to ensure our government has all that needs to serve the people. in spite of almost no republican cooperation over the last six years we have made significant strides in many regards. the new majority leader claims the senate has not achieved in his words quote squat closed quote in recent years. the numbers and facts tell a different story. today the u.s. unemployment rate stands at 5 .8%. over the last six years the american economy has added 10 million jobs. the stock market has reached all-time highs. our nation's manufacturers are thriving. the american automobile industry was brought back from the brink of collapse in spite of republican opposition and let's not forget that there are more than 10 million americans newly insured with health care
coverage. while some here in washington may see that as quote squat closed quote the economic recoveries are very real to a american family reid says. i know how important spend to working nevadans and while we will work to improve the economy without republican help we also work to fulfill our constitutional obligation to offer a device and consent on presidential nominations. just last covers we confirmed 132 judges, the most since the carter administration. overall we confirmed 611 of the president's nominees last congress and despite republican opposition. as we speak we have attorney general and the secretary of defense waiting to be confirmed. i remind everyone senator reid says that last congress that republicans mounted an unprecedented filibuster for a nominee for secretary of defense, a former republican
senator. i challenge my friend the majority leader to change course and work with the senate democrats in confirming the president's nominees in the 114 congress are working together we can easily meet and surpass last congress benchmark 611 confirmations. my republican colleagues and especially the majority leader should also note that summit democrats are especially eager to continue to help american families. working together we can send meaningful bipartisan legislation to the president for his signature. the mistakes of the past, the gratuitous obstruction and filibustering will not be a hallmark of the democratic minority in the 114 congress. the filibuster is an indispensable tool of the minority but republican abuse of its during the last congress has come to epitomize the gridlock here in the united states capital. to be clear senator reid says i have no intention of just rolling over.
i can't. not when the middle-class is teetering on the verge of extension -- extinction. any attempt to erode working families the dismantling and weakening of net neutrality rules by the republicans never ending quest repeal the affordable care act known as obamacare will be met with swift and unified democrat opposition but we would rather legislate together senator reid said and there's plenty of common ground for bipartisan compromise that republicans are willing. >> friends, colleagues and countrymen especially the people of ohio eighth congressional district thank you for sending me here and let's today welcome all of the new members and all of their families to what we all know to be a truly historic day. [applause]
today is an important day for our country. many senators took the oath this afternoon 13 for the first time and the new republican majority accepted its new responsibility. we recognize the enormity of the task before us. we know a lot of hard work awaits. we know many important opportunities await as well. >> president obama visited the ford motor plan their way in michigan discussed the 2009 auto industry bailout and his administration's economic record. he previous him of the topics topics discussed the messier state of the union speech scheduled for tuesday january 20. this is a half-hour. [applause]
[cheers and applause] >> thank you everybody. a big round of applause. hello michigan. happy new year to everybody. what was that? i love you back. i want to thank all the outstanding leaders that we have got here today. i want to introduce some of them. we have secretary of labor tom perez here. [applause] we have got detroit mayor mike duncan here. [applause] senator gary peterson is in the house. [applause] congresswoman debbie mitchell is here. [applause] your outstanding ceo mark fields is here.
[applause] now i have to say i love secret service. i love the piece they put me in. that is what i call the cars they drive me in the beast beasts. i like my rides these days and it was made in michigan too. but i just had a chance to look at these new mustangs and i've got to say a mustangs have a little more style. a little more flavor. bill ford is in the house. [applause] surprisingly enough we talked a little bit about -- now listen i'm a bears fan. you have beaten us twice but
even a bears fan has to admit that was a little suspect. [applause] i have never seen anything like that before. i would have been prettier attainted. were you irritated? all i can say because i'm used to sing this to bears fans there is always next year. and look you have got a lot to be hopeful for. first of all you have one of the best defenses in the league. fine young quarterback megatron and if there's one thing you can say to the bank when talking about detroit it's that detroit always comes back. detroit always comes back.
[applause] and that is why i am here today. one of my new year's resolutions is to make sure that more americans in wayne, more americans in michigan, americans all across this great country that everybody feels like they are coming back. and there is no doubt thanks to the steps we took early on to rescue our economy and to rebuild it on a new foundation we are entering into the new year with new confidence that america is coming back. [applause] now you don't have to take my word for it. the facts are the facts. and let's face it, a lot of
times the media does not like reporting on good news. but every once in a while folks like to hear some good news not to make us complacent but to give us confidence that if we work harder we can make even more good news. so here is how we begin this year. last year, 2014 was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. [applause] since the 1990s. [applause] we have now had a 57 month streak of private-sector job creation. we created nearly 11 million new jobs. that's along the stretch in our history of private-sector uninterrupted job creation. [applause] here is another way of thinking about it.
since 2010 we america, have put more people back to work in europe japan and every other advanced economy combined. combined. [applause] and let me tell you what is leading the way. american manufacturing. after a decade of decline american manufacturing is in its best stretch of job growth since the 1990s. here in michigan manufactures have created more than 100,000 jobs helping to cut your unemployment rate in half. so we are making more stuff. we are selling it around the world. america is the number one producer of oil the number one producer of gas. it's helping to save drivers
about $1.10 a gallon at the pump over this last year. [applause] and the cars that you make help everybody go a little further on that gallon of gas. [applause] thanks to the affordable care act, also known as obamacare. [applause] about 10 million americans gained health insurance just over this last year. [applause] we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds. i would like people to think about that because when they do surveys like ordinary folks on the street and they asked them is it going up or going down everyone assumes deficits must be going up. deficits have come down by two-thirds since i took office by two-thirds. they are going down. [applause]
and after 13 long years our war in afghanistan has come to responsible and which mean more of our brave troops have come home and spend time with their families during the holidays. [applause] so the point is we are moving. these years have been tough demanding hard work and sacrifice on everybody's part. you guys know that more than most. which means that as a country we have every right to be proud of what we have got to show for all that hard work. america's resurgence is real. don't let anybody tell you otherwise. we have got the best cars and we are doing better than just about anybody else on earth and now that we have got some calmer waters now that the worst of the crisis is behind us if we all do our part, if we all pitch in, then we can make