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tv   Labor Secretary Nominee Faces Questions on the Minimum Wage Workplace...  CSPAN  March 22, 2017 9:04am-10:30am EDT

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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the senate and in health education labor and pensions will come to wonder. this morning we're holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of alexander acosta to serve as united states secretary of labor. senator murray and i will each have an opening event double introducer witness. we are delighted that senator rubio with us. senator cruz is coming. after a witness testimony, senators will each have two five-minute round of questions.
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just 10 years ago in 2007, steve jobs announced that apple had reinvented the mobile phone, just 10 years ago. a micro-blogging company named twitter gained its own separate platform and started to scale globally and amazon released something called kindle. all that in 2007, just 10 years ago. the senior ibm began to build a computer called watson that within a few years defeated human contestants in the jeopardy tv show in 2007 by sequencing the genome started falling from 100 million in 2001 to $1000 in 2015 in a new book tom friedman puts his finger on the year 2007, just 10 years ago at the technological inflection point. he uses the term great acceleration for all the technological, social,
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environmental and market changes simultaneously sweeping across the globe and argues we are living through one of the great inflection point in his array as a result. out of the university finding that automation industries on civil for the loss of 88% of manufacturing jobs and globalization. and social, cultural climate changes in terrorism come you get a big mismatch between the change of pace and ability of the average american worker to keep up and fit into the accelerating hours since shaping the work place. a few weeks ago, a group of senators that are found in a foreign in less than to send very smart scientists talk about their advances in artificial intelligence and after it was all over, one senator asked, where are we all going to work? tom friedman said the most important governance challenges a great need to develop the learning systems come in the training systems, management systems, social safety nets and
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government regulations that enable citizens to get the most out of these acceleration and cushion their worst impacts, unquote. one of the federal government's chief actors in this drama of acceleration should be the secretary of labor. in fact, as many have suggested and house of representatives have done, the title of the job for which alexander acosta has been nominated should be secretary of the workforce, not secretary of labor. labor you membership in the private economy today is down to less than 1%. the issue for workers today is not whether they belong to a union. it's whether they have the skills to adapt to a changing marketplace and find and keep a job. to be accurate, to create a job, my generation found jobs. this generation is more likely to create their own jobs. it is a natural address, president trump said --
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struggling to keep in a changing world. in his farewell address, president obama heard the same voices. too many families in inner cities and rural counties have been left behind. what can we do about it? the most important thing is to work with employers and community colleges and institutes and find ways to increase the number of americans earning postsecondary certificate into your degrees or more. george university says by 2020, 65% of the jobs in this country will require some college and at the rate we're going, georgetown predicts 5 million workers with inadequate postsecondary education by 2020. unfortunately, too many of the government actions over the last two years have made it harder for the american people to keep up, adjust, create and keep a job. to begin with, the obama administration has released an avalanche that held job creators back. president obama's department of
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labor issued 130% more final rules than the previous administration's labor department, an average of 85 nature roles with more than $100 million impact on the economy compared with president bush 62 here. take the overtime rule. in my status costs would add hundreds of dollars for student and college tuition and for small businesses to reduce the jobs that provide stability families need or the joint employee role with the attack on franchising or the fiduciary role that makes it more expensive for the average worker to obtain investment advice. one after one, a big wet blanket of cost and time-consuming mandate and job creators. there's equal employment opportunity commission e. 01 form, requiring employers provide to the government 20 times as much information as they do today on how they are workers.
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there is the fact, which i know that dean is well aware of come in the federal aid application that turns away from college many of people who ought to be going. and the affordable care outcome which to find full-time work is only 30 hours, forcing employers to cover for his hours are reduced altogether. many like to persuade her rule, which chose the ability to retain legal advice during union organizing activities seem destined, designed for the purpose of strengthening the membership and power of labor unions fortunate today to have a presidential nominee for labor secretary who understand how a good paying job is critical to helping workers realize the american dream for themselves and their families. senator rubio and senator cruz will introduce any detail, so i will not. but i do want to recognize after immigrating to miami from cuba, mr. acosta's parents were turned to create more opportunities for their son, the first person in the family to go to college.
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then on nlrb assistant attorney general for the justice department u.s. attorney, dean of florida international law school. his school's president describes him as conscientious, thoughtful, says he doesn't overreach and they start a band confirmed three times by the united states senate. mr. acosta, we welcome you today and i look forward to hearing more and your ideas about how to help american workers adjust to the changing conditions in our workforce. senator murray. >> thank you, chairman alexander. mr. acosta, thank you for being here and to you and your family for your willingness to serve. the department of labor is at the heart of one of our -- president trends or campaign promises, which is to poke workers first. dll prioritizes the best interest of our workforce, enforces laws that protect
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workers rights and safety and livelihood and seeks to expand economic opportunity to more workers and families across the country. i would hope that any president would share those basic goals, but especially so many promises. i was very surprised and president trump select data and are puzner, asked the ceo who built his career on squeezing records as his first for secretary of labor. we heard story after story from people with las vegas and mistreatment. i was deeply concerned the secretary of labor his history of offensive comment and marketing campaigns with signal it's acceptable to objectify and marginalize women in the work place. puzner was uniquely unqualified for this role and i'm frank lee relieved he won't have the opportunity to serve. just because president transfers secretary of labor with a deeply
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unacceptable, that doesn't mean we should lower our standards because workers and families across the country certainly are not. instead, they've made very clear they want to secretary of labor who will stand up for the coronation of the department of fight for their interests, someone who will be an advocate within the administration for workers at president trump continues down the path of breaking promise after promise to does he said he would help and when this in mind, mr. acosta, i have serious concerns about your nomination, which i want to ask about today and written follow-up questions. the trump administration has hired a cemented a reputation for flouting ethics rules than attempting to exert political pressure over federal employees. i expect our next secretary of labor to be someone who can withstand inappropriate political pressure and prioritize workers in the mission of the labor department over hypothetically speaking
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president trump business associate or steve bennett's freight in ideology. mr. acosta, i'm concerned that when you love the civil rights division at the department of justice, u.s. last ignored an extraordinary politicization of the work of this division and at worst actively facilitated. a formal investigation by the inspector general showed that under your tenure, hiring in the civil rights division systematically favored conservative applicants over those who appear to be more liberal, regardless of their professional qualifications. as assistant attorney general, you chose to stay silent on a proposed texas redistricting plan instead, allowing political appointees to overrule longtime attorneys who believe they discriminated against black and latino voters. the supreme court later affirmed the plan did violate the voting rights act.
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you inexplicably sent a letter defending the jim crow era ohio challenger allowed just four days before the 2004 presidential election and had no role in that love. by the end of their time at the civil rights division, prosecutions for crimes related to gender hide declined by 40%. altogether, these actions are just a pattern of allowing political pressure to influence decision-making on issues that should rise above partisanship. to me this raises questions about your commitment to defend the civil rights at all fundamental role of secretary of labor. mr. acosta, i'm interested in hearing more about your vision for the department and specifically where you stand on a number of key issues that will be heavily engaged in over the years. president trump has spoken out
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against the updated overtime rule, which have helped millions of workers get paid they earned. our federal minimum wage has fallen far, far behind workers needs. workers make less than their male counterparts and economic drain on our country pronounced for women of color and i've also heard reports of president trump cruel immigration executive order is causing undocumented workers not to come forward for back wages they are owed. i feel strongly we need to ensure undocumented workers are safe and receive fair treatment, especially this time of heightened fear in a certainty. these are all challenges i expect the secretary of labor to working on. again, the secretary must be an independent boys who will push back on the president's agenda to the working families.
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dll plays a pivotal role in making certain or consequences & co. discriminator threat and employee safety on the job. it supports job training and development for unemployed workers and retirement programs impact nationwide, collects and publishes independent foundational data about our economy through the bureau of labor statistics and much more. the ability of the department to operate effectively has enormous impact on workers, families and on our economy. i'm concerned about president trump's proposal to cut more than 20% of the dll budget. it is difficult to see how the department could maintain, let alone improve its performance for such dramatic cuts to go into a riot. under the president's budget, workers to pay the price for a budget designed to help the top which is unacceptable.
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i want to hear how u.s. someone who would be response will for carrying out the critical work of the department do the president's proposal. i'm looking forward to your testimony and responses on these and many issues in a hopefully receive clear at early answers. i firmly believe workers should have a strong advocate of the department of labor and that is what i will continue to push for. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator murray. we welcome senator rubio and senator cruz. i know both of you have other commitments and so you are welcome to stay or go to your other commitments after that we will move to his date meant. senator rubio. thank you, mr. chairman. 10 after the ranking member for the opportunity to be before the committee today. it's my honor to introduce mr. acosta i wholeheartedly encourage the committee and senate to support his nomination to be our next secretary of labor. i began by saying i know alex well.
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a fellow floridian and miami had been familiar with his work for many years. later he came to him as well and when the president nominated him, i think is an outstanding choice to lead the department of labor. this public service and we will learn about that today i still say not to submit your i'm a bit testimony as well as member of the national labor his probation board has appointed by president george w. bush. from there he was selected by president bush to serve as the assistant attorney general for civil rights division. u.s. department of justice where he also served as principal deputy, assistant attorney general of beginning august august 2013. the two places i would refer you in the place i watch the most close to animals prodded the work first as he was the u.s. attorney in one of the most challenging in the country, florida southern district and i encourage you to look out the numerous cases and the complexity of many cases that fall under their jurisdiction and to protect your during his
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time there. most recently he served as dean of florida international university college of law or he's been instrumental in getting the school at the ground after its recent founding. the well-prepared young men and women for their careers at florida international university with an adjunct professor for over 10 years, but more importantly unique role in our community where a significant percentage of the students not just that the law school, but in the school in general are the first in their family to ever attend her graduate from college has a higher percentage is due to it than virtually any other college or university in america and under his leadership, the college of law has opened the door for hundreds of young people who ultimately would've had to do what i did and that his take on significance order to get their jurist doctorate degree. he has elevated the ability not just to do that, but at a very
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high level. with every challenges confronted throughout his distinguished career he continuously demonstrated his ability to effectively tackle the problems on hand with ease. he's a brilliant, brilliant legal mind, someone with deep knowledge of labor issues and a proven leader in management. for these reasons and many more, i'm confident alex acosta will serve this nation admirably in fact to introduce into the committee today and urge you to support his nomination. i thank you, mr. chairman. and other members of of this committee for the opportunity. >> thank you, senator rubio pierced senator cruz, welcome. thank you, mr. chairman. members of this committee, it is a privilege to be before you today and have the opportunity to introduce my friend, alex acosta. i've known alex for 25 years. he and i went to law school together. we been friends a long time. there's a lot you can know by looking at his resume, looking at his bio. you could always smart,
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academically accomplished and the life of public service. one of the things you know getting to know someone over the course of two and a half decades as you learn their character. i can tell you alex is a man of character. a man who take very seriously fidelity's for the law, fidelity to the constitution and the man who has a passion for justice. alex began his legal career as a law clerk for justice samuel alito, fourth district court of appeals. yes three times and from earned by the united states senate. he is confirmed as a board member of the national regulations board and was confirmed as the assistant attorney general for the right and confirmed as the united states attorney for the southern district of colombia.
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all three of those positions are very challenging position. as each of you now, those are not easy assignment. those are assignment but almost by their nature guarantee that there's going to be conflict, going to be difficult and important issues presented to others interested with laziness offices. one of the remarkable thing since he's been able to read each of those offices with an impeccable record, a record of distinction, but also a record of inclusion. alex including those offices has done is traded and ability to bring people together, even if they have disparate political or ideological background to bring them together behind a shared vision. and a shared commitment to justice. that is an important characteristic in any position. it's been an important characteristic in his role as the dean at florida international university school
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of law. which is marco described as a school that is expanding opportunity to a great many people who would have never had the opportunity otherwise. yet another demonstration for justice. stepping down as u.s. attorney. plenty of law firms in florida would've offered him a seven figure check indicative lived in a nice house, driven at a car and had a very comfortable life. but he chose instead to be dean of the law school, to make a difference in the lives of students. to those of us who have known alex a long time, that is not surprising. that's entirely consistent with the course of the entire life. i will also tell you on a personal level, alex is a surprisingly good poker player. and not merely good as a squash
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player. and one additional observation. alex is a giving american. he understands firsthand how incredible the miracle of freedom is. how incredible this country is. the beacon of freedom that has served to the world. that is an appreciation that i think is important and antigovernment position of secretary of labor. the mandate of secretary of labor, the kind that alex will be will be a champion for working men and women. a champion for people who want jobs, more jobs, higher wages, more opportunity. someone who will fight for the working men and women of this country. i will say i take perhaps particular pleasure in the
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observation i suspect this is one of the first times is not the only time the committee has had three cuban-americans seated before it and it is a testament of the opportunity for our wonderful nation. i commend to you alex acosta will make an excellent secretary of labor. >> thank you, senator cruz. senator rubio, thank you both for coming. you're welcome to go to your other hearings at whatever time you choose to. mr. acosta, we welcome you in your family. welcome to introduce your family feud that. but be glad to have your statement and then we'll begin a round or two of questions. thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member murray, members of the committee, i thank you for the opportunity to appear
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before you this morning. i know today is a busy day in the senate and there are other ongoing hearings the thank you. it's an honor to be here as president trump's nominee to be secretary of labor. i want to think a minute to thank senator marco rubio and ted cruz for the reduction as both noted. i've known them for many years. i appreciate their support and i deeply admire and respect the public service. i'm also grateful for their support today because my family was unable to be here. my wife is an amazing woman, a fantastic mother. and deeply grateful for her love and unending and unyielding support. my eldest daughter is in first grade in there something called an islet test, which is a standardized test that she's undergoing this week.
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my wife is the daily at him with my 5-year-old who's going to be in kindergarten next year, back in miami. i don't know if they're watching. my wife may or may not be. but i really want to reach out to them and thank them for everything they do for me. i want to thank my parents in particular. my parents are very important to me, not simply because of what they've done for me, but my story really begins with them and informs my perspective on what it means to be secretary of labor. they fled cuba, came to the united states seeking freedom than they found it. they've added miami in high school. they married young. my mother was in her teens and neither attended college. growing up, they struggled. not as much as other americans have struggled, but they
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struggled. my mother started out as a typist at a real start earned and committed 90 minutes each way for her job. my father served in the army. later tried to start a small business, but he quickly found that his lack of higher education, his lack of ability to deal with forms and rules made it very difficult for him to be a small business owner. so he went out to hold various jobs in the end it is working livelihood inventory clerk at a cell phone store. our family lived paycheck to paycheck. my grandmother cared for me and now by some incredibly helpful and loving thing to do and work full time. the kind of debt but decided not to go into because credit card interest rates are high. but they went into that bad and they took on second jobs to make
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ends meet. and they did that because they wanted to give me an education. i am here because of them. and my success is very much their success. they were able to give me these opportunities because even though they didn't have a college education, they had something and that's his job. even though times they lost their job, they were always able to find another job and that was very important. today, americans are facing the same challenges and struggles, but for many americans, my parents had jobs, but not only americans had jobs. some americans have seen their jobs filled by foreign workers and i've read and seen press reports that not only have they been filled a foreign workers, but to add insult to injury, and they've been asked to train their foreign replacements.
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some americans have seen jobs are available, but these available jobs require skills they do not have. helping americans find good jobs, save jobs should not be a partisan issue. in my business with each my business with each of you at each member of this committee, it was crystal clear that every member of this committee wants americans to find jobs, good jobs come and save jobs, even if you don't agree on how. i share this goal with you. let us begin by agreeing on the need. if confirmed, i benefit from an ongoing dialogue with each of you and how we advance goals in the context of the chairman mentioned the global economy changing rapidly with each passing year and the constraints of limited resources. i would like to close with a brief introduction of a few items in particular.
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the first is a skills gap. if they visited members of this committee repeatedly heard that in your state the skills to often or not there. and one of your states, for example, teaching welding techniques and it turns out the employers are no longer using that technique so why are they teaching an outdated technique? that is not how you teach skill. we can and we must work to reduce the skills gap. we need to make better efforts to align job training with the skills and market demand and market demand in the increasingly changing market will demand of its workers. as they change the types of jobs that are available in our economy. the department of labor cannot do this alone. it has to work with local government with educational institutions, public private partnerships that would have substantial positive impact on the american workforce. this division of the workforce
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innovation that had the job for many other programs not only a dll, but across government. if confirmed, i will work with you to maximize every taxpayer dollar that is directed towards a job training program. sakic, good job should also be save jobs. congress has enacted workplace standard and safety laws. the department of labor enforces the senate could her and i will work to enforce the laws under the department's jurisdiction fully and fairly. as a former prosecutor, my enforcement efforts will always be on the side of the law. if enacted by congress. it should be enforced fully. it should be fair and it should not enforce favor or against any particular constituents. finally, the department of labor was formed more than 100 years ago when it's an interesting history because originally it
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was the department of commerce and labor and then it was split into two. why was this boy? the reason is this. a voice for commerce and a voice for workers at the chairman mentioned within the executive branch would promote better decision-making. i think this concept is absolutely correct. advocates for the american workforce within the administration are important. those who still seek work, those discouraged unemployed or those who have retired if confirmed as secretary of labor, part of my job will be one of those advocates. president trump has reached out to vote this myth and labor his first hundred days. i'm proud to have the support or the several dozen business groups and also several private sector and key public faith union to remember with respect my work, doj and the nlrb.
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they know we do not always agree. i was always willing to listen and to think and to consider and to seek a principled solutions. if confirmed, i hope that we come in this committee and the executive branch can work together in the same way to address the need for good jobs and save jobs and in particular, access to training and skills that the changing workplace will demand of its workforce. i thank you for your consideration and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. acosta appeared a five-minute round of questions and a senator's come in effect around a five-minute questions. mr. acosta, let's start with a skills gap that you spoke about. if we're to think of u.s.a. think of usf english as secretary should secretary of the workforce, to help workers in this head spinning environment we find ourselves
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in, they just wouldn't fit into it. we are to spend a lot of money helping people get training. we spend more than dirty billion and pal grants. the average pell grant is about the same as the average community college tuition. we spend a lot of money on student loans. other countries do other things. germany has an apprenticeship system. some people say or technical institute to a better job in community colleges. if your secretary of the workforce and the d.c. according to the manufacturing institute, 2 million american manufacturing jobs go unfilled due to the skills gap specifically what are some of the things we should be doing about it? >> senator, thank you for the question. let me touch on the first part of your comment ,-com,-com ma which are defending the and an education and i think it's critical if confirmed that the
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department of labor work closely with the department of education because there's a lot of spending taking place in education and we want to make sure to the extent possible and feasible that individuals have the opportunity to align their education with the skills the workplace will demand. more specifically to the second part of the question, you mentioned apprenticeships. as dean of the law school, i'm a big fan of learning by doing. we recently started a program which is a full semester internship at a law firm in addition to a public defender's office state attorney's office. the students had the opportunity to spend a full semester there because they can learn by doing. i think if you look at some of the apprenticeship programs were individuals work and they get credit while they are working for some of the other programs available in community colleges that focus on vocational
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opportunities in partnership with individual businesses, those are all options that we should be looking at because their alternative ways of education, alternative ways of providing skills and importantly, away first bands to acquire skills and jobs, skills to be used in jobs that are taken on enormous debt that we even send secondary -- and send secondary programs. >> then he asked you another question. the overtime rule, fortunately it is not in effect thanks to a quarter. in my view, it is one of the worst examples of regulation by the previous administration. it cost millions of americans to punch time clocks that they didn't want to punch. it raised tuition according to our universities for hundreds of dollars per student because of its cost. i local boy scout council to
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business counselors. they received widespread condemnation around the country and even in congress there was bipartisan opposition. so there was a doubling of the threshold. there is an impact on nonprofits. what are you going to do about the overtime rule? >> well, senator, mr. chairman i see mentioned, it's pending litigation. first, the overtime rule hasn't been up dated i believe since 2004. i think it is unfortunate that rules that involve dollar values can sometimes go more than a decade, sometimes 50 years without updating because life does become more expensive. >> let me press you a little bit. dublin the threshold, applied so heavily the impact of it to nonprofits.
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does not concern you? >> mr. chairman, it does. the point i was making is i think it's unfortunate go so long without adjusting. when they are adjusted, pc impacts such as the doubling of the amount that does create what i will call a stress on the system as the chairman mentioned , particularly in areas, both industry and geographic areas that are lower wage historically. i think one of the challenges that we face in addressing the overtime rule is since 2004 there's been no change. now there is a very large change in how should that be addressed as a policy matter i think it's a very difficult decision, but a very serious one because the economy does feel substantial impact of such a large change. >> thank you. senator murray. >> mr. chairman, let me follow
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on that. the department of labor did finalize the updated overtime rolled last year and that will help to restore the 40 hour workweek, which is the cornerstone of protection for middle-class workers. before that rule, workers could be asked to put in extra hours to 60, 70, 80 hours a week without earning a single extra dollar that they spend away from their families and the new overtime rule expanded the workers to qualify for economic security for millions of family. after months of republicans in congress and big business fighting to block the overtime rule, as he stated, the court is now considering the roadblock in additional overtime for workers from taking effect. let me ask the question a little bit differently. do you believe that workers should be paid overtime for the overtime hours they work? >> senator, i believe workers
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entitled to overtime pay should receive pay for their overtime. >> will you defend this rule in >> senator, as i was saying it was not to the chairman's question, and the overtime rule hasn't been updated since 2004. we now see an update that is a very large revision and is something that needs to be considered with the impact it has on the economy. on nonprofits, on geographic areas that have lower wages. but i'm also very sensitive to the fact that it hasn't been updated since 2004 has confirmed a look at this very closely. let me add a related issue today is that the question of whether the threshold is within the rarity of the secretary. when congress passed the statue, it provides a method a test.
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one of the questions of the litigation as does a dollar threshold supersede and as a result is that not in accordance with the law? i mention that because i think the wording of the secretary to address this as a separate issue from what the correct amount is and the litigation needs to be considered carefully, both with respect to what would be the appropriate amount of the rule to woo the change to revise, but also what is in the authority of the secretary to do. >> this is an issue and following closely. i think it's an issue of fairness and i really do believe the secretary of labor's job is to make sure that workers are treated fairly. let me move on to another issue. you have served as a high-ranking federal official, one of the few cabinet nominees for the president himself. however, in the civil rights
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division at the department of justice, staff under your supervision broke federal law by systematically discriminating against individuals based on their political affiliations. an inspector general investigation found staff on your management team sought out conservative candidate and rejected liberal ones. your staff referred to conservatives as real americans who were on the team and according to the ig report, your staff called liberal department lawyers call me if np goes until the subordinate venture division should be limited to hiring bureau members who belong to some psychopathic left-wing organization designed to overthrow the government. your deputies that he should get an award for effectively breaking the will of liberal staff. these were your staffers at them into your supervision. do you take responsibility for the acts of discrimination that occurred under your leadership? >> senator, and you are
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referring to the actions of one of the deputies from the division. i believe the inspector general's report found that the other deputies that oversaw the other sections of the civil rights division did not engage in that conduct. that condit should not have happened. it happened on my watch. it should not have occurred. that language should not have been used in a deeply regret it. >> in these media last year, we stand up to the president or others in the illustration if they ask you the use political views on statements in hiring decisions? >> senator, political views on the hiring of career attorneys or his staff should not be used in the answer to your question is if i am asked to do that, i will not allow it. i am very aware of the inspector general's report, and the impact a hot on that section and i
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would not allow that to happen. >> okay. i appreciate that very much. >> thank you, senator murray. senator collins and senator benefit. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. acosta, first of all, thank you for sharing your inspiring personal story. it really is the story of opportunity in america and in many ways, that is the mission of the department she then nominated to be coming to create more opportunities for american workers. the department has a program noticed the trade adjustment assistance programs that helps americans who through no fault of their own have lost their jobs as a result of foreign and often unfair competition. in maine, for example, would cost more than 38% of our manufacturing jobs.
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that's nearly 31,000 jobs. in total over the last 17 years. the trade adjustment assistance program has been crucial in helping many main workers who have been hit very hard by e-mail closures and shut factories get the skills they need for the jobs in higher demand industries. for example, fiscal year 2016, 700 t. mainers benefited from ta and more than 70% of those who went through taa provided education and retraining employment within 39 of completing the program. the so-called skinny budget that was released last week proposed as large cuts in the department of labor, but it's unclear what
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happens to taa. what is your view on that program? >> senator, thank you for the question. i appreciate that we set up the question because he provided data. if confirmed, something i think i would need to do and do very quickly because budget season has already begun is assessed the efficacy of the job training programs. because the budget are to be determined, the skinny budget has been submitted. congress will have the final say in the ultimate budget. dollars are going to be more scarce as a reality. we have to make difficult decisions. you provided data that shows how successful the program has been. i think the principles that need to be used to guide the spending are how successful is the program. does the program address particular needs such as the
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needs of displaced individuals who have lost jobs because of, for example, closing up the mail. in that context, their rate of return on the investment of taxpayer dollars in the skills i think is particularly high. if you have someone doing a job most of their life and a job no longer exists and now you provide them the skills to do another job, they are going to hold that job for a long time and they are going to become part of our economy again and they are going to be paying taxes. so that rate of return on those programs they think is very strong. based on your information, i hope that the program remains because of tom like it's incredibly successful at least in your state. and let me add, i think there is also room for differences between state for some program
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might make sense in maine, but it might not make sense in another state. we need to be very sensitive that one size does not fit all. >> thank you for that response. despite the success of the taa program, and there is a category of workers in my state who are older workers who are in many ways who are stories that the economic recovery is. older workers are having increasing difficulty in finding employment. in maine that privacy workers are over 44 years old and are paper mills which have lost more than i did the past three years alone have a disproportionately high number of older workers. very many of them working at paper mill has been the only job
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they've ever known. their families have worked very for literally generations. and it's very difficult to tell someone who is 54 years old, who is a mess his entire life for her entire life, that they need to retrain for a new job or leave a community of artists in their home or entire life. if confirmed, what ideas do you have for helping older workers and my state and others who have lost jobs due to e-mail closures and other factors? >> senator, briefly i will say that those ideas can come from washington. but washington needs to do is go to man and ask them what ideas do they see in their local area and then work with them in the local government to address
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that. i don't think we here in washington can understand what they are going through their small town of maine. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator collins. senator bennett. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. acosta, congratulations to you and your nomination and your willingness to serve. i went to press a little bit on what senator collins was just asking. in colorado, we are trying to establish an apprenticeship program throughout our universities, community colleges, school districts and businesses. i would like to invite you if you are confirmed come out there and be with the people working on the project to see how the department of labor might help them for help us do that better. >> lampley. >> good, thank you. >> virtually this entire campaign was about bringing back jobs and wages to places in america where people have suffered huge economic
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dislocation because of some would argue trade. some might say are diminishing. but dislocation has been real median family income has fallen in many places and there is a hope this mess about with the economy is going to bring. with respect to you, and i'm not sure the answer that it's answer that it's all up to local communities suffice the president ran for president saying he was going to make that huge difference and bring those jobs. apart from training, which i stipulated that talked about in my office is an enormously important thing we need to do better and i think we are wasting billions of dollars not training people for jobs that exist in the 21st century. putting that aside, what is the plan? >> senator, thank you for the question. let me first make the point that one of the reasons i said it's important to go to the local communities is because from the senator and i admit in private,
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she gave information about the background in the abilities or the other opportunities in that area. that is by definition different than what is available in colorado. i do think it is important to visit colorado and his nickname and understand the different areas. go into your point, i think we need to look at several different levels for job creation. the president has made clear that every cabinet agency should review regulations for unneeded regulatory burden. small businesses produce depending on whose numbers you look at between seven and eight new jobs -- seven and eight out of 10 new jobs. at first to encourage small business will foster job creation. i think it's important to look at the issue that i highlighted about foreign workers taking american jobs, particularly when
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the circumstances i highlighted where americans are being asked to train their foreign replacements. that is not the intent to the h. one b. and as a matter of fact, it has to be made that you are not affecting the working conditions of an american worker. when you do that. so one question i would have is how often is that happening and he says something we should be looking at with a greater degree of care? i think we also need to work with public-private partnerships. i know that there is a lot of discussion about an infrastructure program. they will certainly bring back a lot of jobs and for all of these, not just the jobs as part of an infrastructure program for jobs that are developed for small business, but as individuals get jobs, they spend
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money. those individuals that spend money go to restaurants. you have this multiplier effect throughout the economy that i think is incredibly valuable. let me finally touch on education. i do think it's important to touch on education because the economy is changing rapidly and our educational institutions can not ignore what the workplace is going to be demanding going forward. >> mr. acosta, i want to also for the record note, and i appreciate is that you've been a supporter of immigration reform in the past. the senator rubio as part of the gang of eight to pass the senate bill on immigration and part of what you observed in 2012 was that the current system allowed the abuse of immigrant workers. do you still feel that way and do you still support immigration
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reform? >> senator, i think there is a need to have immigration laws that are transparent and clear. and i do think that we have an issue of abuse with immigrant workers. i think when workers are not part of the system, the system can abuse them. but i also think it is important that we enforce our immigration laws. i don't see enforcement of immigration laws this effort are immigration reform. >> mr. chairman, the less than 15 seconds over. i apologize. on the science of love, we have huge difficulties at the beach today and -- a way that is useful to workers and businesses. i look forward to having a chance to talk with you about that at a later time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator bennett, i was going to
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call senator hatch, but it's not here, so i will call on senator scott. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here again. a couple questions that i've heard so far during this hearing has to do with the overtime rule. moving from 23,000 extra dollars to about $47,000 according to some studies have cost half a million jobs of the economy. so your comments seem to be a mixed bag. according to mccutcheon who is an hourly wage person at the department of labor and the bush administration, moving it up from 23,002 may the 32,000 would make sense based on the previous formulas used for decades, what would be your approach? >> senator, thank you for the question. if you were to do a cost-of-living adjustment as i mentioned, the world has gotten more expensive and salaries have changed since 2004. if you were to apply a straight
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inflation adjustment, i believe that the figure is they were to be updated for around 32,000, give or take. .. this is something that gets updated every 15 years and so
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for me to sort of on-the-fly at a hearing state certainty, i don't think this is a possible approach. what i say is one, i understand the extreme economic impact that a doubling has in certain parts of the economy. i understand that it goes beyond cost-of-living adjustment and i understand as well that because it is the size of the increase, there are serious questions as to whether the secretary of labor even has the power to an act this in the first place which is what a lot of the litigation, not a lot but the basis of the litigation is. those are issues i would want to consult the individuals of labor and justice that are overseeing the litigation. >> the next secretary as opposed
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to investing any time in that conversation which will be an important conversation between the overtime rule and fiduciary. these i think should be contemplating already but let's move to a different topic. senator bennett mentioned chairman alexander and the ranking member talked about the importance of apprenticeship programs, the leading states in the country on the success of our apprenticeship programs. how would you encompass, objectives going forward and apprenticeship taking into consideration cory booker and myself sponsored, and 6400 participants programs, we have companies throughout the country, boeing, blue cross blue
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shield, also industries like healthcare finance all integrated and involved in apprenticeship programs, i would like to hear your model. >> south carolina, the apprenticeship program, some of the qualities that makes it successful is the public-private partnership, were not in, deeply involved and directing, these are the apprenticeships we need, this is what the workforce is demanding and that involvement of employers, at the state level, also provides incentives for employers to engage in apprenticeships and hire
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apprentices and particularly, someone quite literally an apprentice, particularly, noteworthy and attractive for an employer to hire an apprentice. >> senator baldwin. >> welcome, mister acosta, congratulations on the nomination. what -- one of the first responsibilities, you alluded to in a moment ago in terms of the fact that it is budget, one of the first responsibilities of the secretary is going to be identifying where to cut, frankly because president trump's budget calls for a $2.5 billion cut to the department of labor, 21%
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decrease in active levels, a significant, president trump's budget only specifies $500 million of cuts mostly to seniors seeking job training and leaves $2 billion unspecified. i would like to ask you, how are you going to approach this incredible task of making this work. 15 job corps centers, the entire employee benefit charge, with workers retirement fund, and women and apprenticeship grant
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programs, 2% across-the-board, various bureaus, what are you going to do you q >> let you say is a nominee, anybody opportunity to provide -- if confirmed it is something, it is moving. and congress will have ultimate decisions on this, my personal perspective, this should not be possible, shouldn't focus on particular programs, that is a little bit too because programs aren't quite -- let me come at
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this way. you mentioned the job corps centrals and there are some job corps centers in some states where the job corps centers are highly successful and those job corps centers work exceedingly well given the population of a given the geographic diversity of that state, those job corps centers are working well. there are other job corps centers that have a history of violence associated with them that concerns me and as a matter of fact the department of labor has looked at those job corps centers and identified some of those issues and this requires an analysis. >> we have limited time. you are not going to look across board and what i think i hear you saying some arise, eliminate programs per se.
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and trade adjustment for senator collins. and what troubles me, where we are not seeing success is pulling it away and not offering those programs, or is it going in, providing those opportunities to me and left people high and dry in many other areas. >> i don't think we disagree. it is a question, you have a particularly troubled area, a
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little bit of movement can be a success but secondly just because you pool -- if there's a job corps center in a particular geographic area medicines working that doesn't you pull away from the geographic area, maybe in that area the money is better spent on another program than a job corps center. it would not be right to abandon the area and the program and geography to ask what does this part of that state need to really look at it on a local basis. >> thank you, senator baldwin. senator young. >> welcome, mister acosta. great to be with you today. i would like to get your thoughts on how we can link unemployed americans to job
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opportunities. there are already programs out there to facilitate these linkages. less than half of the available workforce fills available jobs, some communities are innovative serving local need. in my own state we have jeffersonville, indiana, they partner with ford for their next-generation learning program. this partnership engages businesses, educators, various other stakeholders to enhance the work throughout the region in southern indiana. it will connect high school graduates to relevant postsecondary education that will directly filter into businesses around that community. every member here, localized specific examples, creative
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solutions to this linkage issue if we are going to have flexible, effective labor markets which in turn leads to faster economic growth and higher wage growth which perhaps you can speak as secretary of labor how you will foster this sort of judgment and serve as a conduit for information related to best practices so folks back in the states and our localities can scale up what is working. >> thank you for the question but even in this hearing, each, several members point to success in their particular states that you are right, they need to be compiled and put in best practices so they can be duplicated but the point i would identify, not only are these successes based on local
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partnerships but public-private partnerships blues not the department of labor going in on its own. business is working at a local level with educational institutions and other local entities to align the training opportunities with what the workforce does. employers are demanding and that partnership i think is critical. going to senator baldwin's question, would you be walking away from a particular area of the program isn't working, the deck i was trying to make is no, a program that is not working in a particular state, in indiana for example the program -- we should look at the program that is working fabulously well and double down on the program. if the program addresses the
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needs otherwise addressed by the program that is working? >> i like to hear common sense from my would be secretary of labor, that strikes me as common sense. i look forward to working with you operationwise true programs or policies. in my remaining time perhaps i could pivot to the gig economy, the availability, preference of so many workers to take multiple part-time jobs, do freelance work, just the way so much of the economy is moving, creating unique challenges for our workers and from public policy standpoint adapt to these challenges with one of those challenges is for parents, their daycare responsibilities, if in fact they require that center or wish to work outside the home. i have four young children, we have flexibility, my wife and i,
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and family members help out so, figure out a way to make it work father caring for a few children, works the nature of that walmart, don't know how they do it, don't know where they find acceptable available daycare for their children. i'm not asking you to solve this problem but could you at least speak to this problem as the next secretary of labor and how you might explore innovative ways to deal with it, partnering with our state and localities to make the gig economy work? >> thank you. the gig economy is some that needs to be addressed and on several levels the rules aren't designed, they haven't caught up to the gig economy, they assume
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or traditional workplace and so it goes beyond the issue that you raised to several issues in the department of labor and incredibly important and individuals in my office who are single parents. they got to juggle and have the means to juggle. it is a stupid level. >> senator warren and senator hatch. >> i'm glad it's not the first candidate today, i can't imagine what it would be worse than a man who made his fortune by squeezing workers on wages and
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benefits, and replacing workers with relatively never sue him for race or sex discrimination. it is not are you better than andrew pudzner but will you stand up for 50 million american workers and it starts by making sure workers safe on their job. the part of labor to protect 2.3 million american workers from exposure to lethal cancer causing silica to affect last summer. i just went to know, do you promise not to weaken the silica lane anyway and not delay future compliance, by even a single day? >> as you mentioned, the silica went into effect. i should, however, make clear the president, through executive action, all cabinet secretaries to put together a group to
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review all cabinet agencies. and to examine -- >> this is a that has gone into effect and i want to make sure you are not going to delay this any further. >> the point i am trying to make is the president has directed each cabinet office to review all and take determinations if any should be revised. based on that executive action, i cannot make a commitment. the department of labor has been ordered to review all. >> i understand what that means when you state department of labor had been ordered to review all. you are about to be named secretary of labor and your name goes on the bottom line for enforcing the law. you are going to stand up for 150 millionaire workers including people being poisoned by silica or you are not. i think it is a fair question
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for us to ask. are you going to stand up for people? finally we have placed the people will not be poisoned by silica. and you are saying it is open and you don't want to give an answer one way or the other how you look at that? >> what i am saying is the is in effect but there is an order, the final went into -- was promulgated, there is an order, and executive action -- >> you can't give us your own sense whether the silica is something that ought to be enforced, you can't tell whether that will cause people to die you i am not advocating -- >> can i take that as you will enforce that? >> senator, it is -- all cabinet
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officers have been asked to review -- >> you said that and i heard it i'm trying to ask your opinion and your telling me evidently you want to be secretary of labor but have no opinion on whether high on your list of priorities would be to protect it keeps people from being poisoned. >> high on the list of priority will be to protect the safety of workers with appropriate. >> you will decide what appropriate rules are but don't want to give that right now? >> there is an entire staff at that part of labor. >> yes there is. they already looked at this and already have comments on this land received comments from the public about this and they strongly support this. i raised with you when we talked about it two weeks ago so it should be no surprise i'm asking you about this. >> i gave the same answer look forward to hearing from that
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staff if confirmed, their views on this. >> and following their advice? >> of that advice is appropriate, yes. >> you will decide if it is appropriate? let me ask you another question. another huge responsibility is to make sure workers are paid fairly, and the new labor department will require employees to pay their workers over time if they work 40 hours a week, set to go into a week, 4.2 million people. employers preparing to comply. days before the deadline, texas judge blocked a rule stating giant companies over american workers. will you commit to appealing the judge's willing to protect these workers? >> as i previously and i will commit to examining both the and legal basis of the judge's
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decision. >> i appreciate that because that is what you said to me two weeks ago. you had time to take a look at it and it is not a long steer the ruling and look at the comments, look what went behind it is time for an answer. are you going to appeal it or not? >> senator, again, the department of labor step a long time looking on this. it is awesome litigation that would be important to consult, with legal officers regarding position on litigation. >> the department made clear their position. they prepared an appeal. by measuring their actions is their advice, i want to know if you're part of that.
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>> senator hatch is i am happy to see you again. a lot of effort in the past, you did a very good job in this particular physician. it protects workers and potential employees and federal contractors from employment discrimination. it is my observation they are using statistical analysis rather than a full consideration and opportunity for contractor hiring practices and short of addressing real employment discrimination which year 16 hhs appropriations bill, the committee pointed out, appears to prioritize specific results rather than people consideration is because of its reliance on
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statistical analysis and hiring practices. and enforce nondiscrimination standards on evidence of actual discrimination rather than statistical generalization and one more important west, how do you propose promoting discriminatory treatment? instead of discrimination based solely on statistical benchmarks that are not uniformly applicable. >> thank you for your question. i remember appearing before your committee in a room similar to this and at that time, two floors down. the issue is the use of disparate impact in employment
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cases, and the spirit impact is a valid and legally acceptable part of liability with employment litigation. without or i would hesitate to say, shouldn't acceptable tools that are generally considered valid in employment context. and enforcing the executive order for the force of. >> several large employers with financial services, i hear all the time from businesses about the need for skilled workers. i heard you talk about your ideas, how can we modernize one such model. apprenticeship, working with ranking member murray on
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supporting employers with apprenticeship in addition to efforts, what role do you see dol playing and encouraging other employer led best practices? >> thank you. dol needs to take a leadership role in compiling best practices and working with employer groups to encourage employers. you are asking a question. i had remembrance in projects we had with the restaurant association around stability compliance and works with restaurant association's civil rights division to encourage restaurants to comply with the a ga and the point we made to them, to make business sense. working with associations that have access to employers to
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encourage apprenticeship programs and job training programs, learn from them what needs to be done and what can be done, can't just the government. has to be partnership with employers. the part of labor, the department of education is such a key player in this and in all can door, funding is somewhat deeper than the department of labor's funding. it is important to breakdown the silos to not have this department doing this and that department doing that work together as one executive branch addressing this issue. >> mister chairman, my time is almost up. >> thank you, senator hatch. senator hassan here, mister acosta. i will just add support to the
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comments you heard from just about everybody on the committee about the importance of job training. it is critical to the state of new hampshire as is our job core center which is one of the newest if not the newest job core centers in the country and i had the opportunity to be its first graduation just recently, great to see the lives that were changed. i hope you will do everything should you be confirmed, to support both job training and job core centers. i wanted to focus a little bit about the importance of osha to the men and women who constitute the country's workforce. strong targeted enforcement i believe the farmer not only saves lives but saves valuable resources for employers. a substantial body of empirical evidence demonstrates osha inspections reduce injury rates in inspected workplaces and lowers workers compensation costs to the 2 of billions of dollars annually.
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the occupational safety and health administration has about 45% specters today than it had in 1980 when the workforce was almost half of current levels which in new hampshire we have only 7 osha inspectors overseeing safety and health at 50,000 worksites was with his numbers it would take osha 122 years to inspect every workplace in new hampshire just once. president trump's budget blueprint proposes to cut the budget by 21%. can you commit that is confirmed as secretary you will agitate for and seek funding that will maintain osha's enforcement budget at no less than current levels. >> i can certainly -- let me come added this way. i would be concerned in a situation like you mentioned
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whether only seven inspectors, going from 76 has a substantial impact. can i commit to no less than front levels? that is a precise statement and something is going to have to give somewhere in the budget but my background as a law enforcement background, it is incredibly important. i mentioned it in my opening statement for a reason. i would have a lot of concern the number of inspectors in any area fell to the point they don't do their job. >> i want to move on to the area of making sure we are including more people who experience disabilities in this country in the workforce. section 14 c of the fair labor standards act. >> that hearing continues, you can follow it live on for this on


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