Bernie Sanders and 17 Senate Democrats Urge Obama To Use The Presidency To Help Workers

obama-sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 17 Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to use his executive powers to help American workers.

In a letter, Sanders wrote to the President:

The federal government continues to be America’s largest low-wage job creator, subsidizing poverty-level wages through taxpayer-funded contracts. We urge you to harness the power of the presidency to help workers.

Now is the time to declare that the federal government will invest our taxpayer dollars to incentivize model employers that commit to creating good jobs and to rebuilding America’s ailing middle class,” wrote the senators. The letter was sent to the president today.

Sen. Sanders and the Senate Democrats urged President Obama to boost the wages of federal contract worker to a living wage. The letter didn’t specify what wage they were seeking, but liberals, including Sen. Sanders, have suggested a living wage of $15/hour.

Seventeen Democratic senators signed on to the letter including Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Al Franken (Minn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), and Martin Heinrich (N.M.).

The issue has the potential to be a big winner for President Obama and the Democratic Party. With this letter, Sen. Sanders (I-VT) reminded Democrats that he is an outspoken advocate for low-wage workers. Since the odds of the Republican-controlled Congress passing a minimum wage increase are exactly zero, Democrats are going to have to action where they can to help the country’s underpaid workers.

The contrast between Democrats and Republicans could not be clearer. While Republicans are trying to cut taxes for the wealthy, Democrats are pushing for higher wages. President Obama has an opportunity to do something important for a group of low-wage workers, and something tells me that his executive action pen will be wielded again.

55 Replies to “Bernie Sanders and 17 Senate Democrats Urge Obama To Use The Presidency To Help Workers”

  1. And if the President does anything to help REAL working Americans (as opposed to the ‘rich’), you can expect the Republicans to oppose it Tooth and Nail- and call for his Impeachment.

    Cause helping the Rich Folks is the only reason for the Government to exist.

    Don’t ya know?

  2. Private contract companies are running many aspects of American towns life, like the city buses, food service at Congress.

    Those jobs could become city & state jobs again, leaving the contractor out, the workers would make better wages.

    When New Orleans was hit by Catrina, the locals believed to have jobs repairing the electric lines at $20, instead the contractors brought “slave-like workers” housed in metal containers and promising them $8/hr, while charging the state/city full electrician fare of 25-30/hr plus overtime.

    Somebody made a bunch of $$$ in the deal, but it was not the workers.

  3. As much as I admire their convictions they should aim their anger at the people who are preventing American workers from getting good jobs and decent wages that would be their “good friends” the republicans.

    Have they forgotten how during the first stimulus they had it watered down and still only 2 republicans voted for it. How about in 2011 when the republicans filibustered the second stimulus. Or the Veteran jobs bill, voting or non voting on the highway bill.

    So quit you backstabbing and veiled racism and start taking your brothers to the woodshed

  4. They sent a letter. How nice.

    At least they didn’t send a letter to Iran.

    What happened to the $12 proposal from last month that had no chance of passing congress?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/23/business/economy/democrats-are-rallying-around-12-wage-floor.html?_r=0

    Of course, if obama approved $15, then the little towns with little stores and small amounts of profit would close their doors.

    But those Senators now can tell the little guys at home, when they send out their issues letters, they supported it.

    Ok then, just like their fake TPP opposition, that is almost ready to pass now. It was a ruse.

    Jump from 8 t0 10 to 12 to 15 on rhetoric.

    Forgive my cynicism. I know the drill.

  5. Apropos to JimmyK:

    The Founding Fathers- were liberals.
    “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” — George Washington

    “The power of all corporations ought to be limited, […] the growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”
    — James Madison

    “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
    — Thomas Jefferson.

    Do you ever get tired of being wrong Jimmyk?

  6. Lets see, $15.00 x 40 = $600.00 x 52 = $31,200.00. So, $15 a hour could be called the minimum living wage. Because in reality, no one can call that living.

  7. Small towns will survive minimum wage increases today like they did every other minimum wage increase in the past.

  8. Benny, that is a living wage for someone in tiny town America who is a young person at a fast food joint.

    So if it is now 8 and jumps to 15 where is it going to come from?

    Prices are passed on to – the consumer.

  9. Awww…..how cute of them

    15 of those 17 and Sanders tried to sink and voted against their President on the Trade deal cloture yesterday.

    Buck it !

  10. $10 or $12 won’t make it out of this congress, they are talking about $15 with an executive order, on top of the executive order he passed a while ago for $10.10.

  11. living on the current minimum wage equals half of that. That’s not living, that’s survival, and a brutal one at that.

  12. Yeah it’ll get passed on to the consumer. And how much would it cost the consumer?

    Well, if McDonald’s raised their minimum wage to $15.00, then it would cost the consumer a ‘whopping’ (pardon the pun) extra 27 cents per dollar.
    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/06/08/what-will-a-higher-minimum-wage-cost-you-at-mcdona.aspx

    Which would make a $3.99 Big Mac cost- $5.07. Wow! That really broke the Bank didn’t it?
    Though some say it’d only rise 68 cents.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/07/price-of-big-mac-could-rise-by-68-cents-if-minimum-wage-doubles/

  13. Everybody should be on the gov’t payroll so they all make more money per hour.

    The move is to privatize because the union government workers are killing state budgets and city budgets.

    When I lived in PA they couldn’t make the State or the city budget. As a union member I went without pay for 6 weeks. And they cut the benefits to retirement.

    There are less and less union states every year, not more. Even deep blue states. I love unions, don’t get me wrong, but I love my country too.

    Been there, done that, have the retirement union t-shirt.

  14. Everybody should be on the gov’t payroll so they all make more money per hour.
    At least government workers got something non-government workers don’t have: Protection from Predatory Bosses.

    The move is to privatize because the union government workers are killing state budgets and city budgets.
    – Yet ironically, privatization invariably leads to higher costs, poor maintenance, and lawsuits.

    When I lived in PA they couldn’t make the State or the city budget. As a union member I went without pay for 6 weeks. And they cut the benefits to retirement.
    – And that’s Unions fault? Or perhaps it was the fact that your state reps refused to do their jobs?
    http://portside.org/2013-10-24/long-history-privatization-failures

  15. I’d rather that congressmen choose to vote for what’s right than ‘stand by’ their president when he’s wrong.

    And that includes ALL political parties.

  16. And if you took the time to pay attention- EVERY minimum wage was incremented slowly.

    This will be no different.

  17. Government doesn’t produce profit it is a drain, every salary. My State facility was estimated to be costing 3 times the amount of the same facility in another town that was privatized.

    They had many more of these locations then closed almost all of them down. And I saw first hand for years the waste.

    I was AFSCME (which is under AFL-CIO) and also side by side worked with other departments which were SEIU…

  18. Gee- maybe these 18 senators shold actually do THEIR job and work towards the same goal.

    It’s truly sickening how the Democrats in Congress want the president to do what they refuse to do themselves.

    Ans after they sabotaged the trade agreement and embarrassed the president, they want HIM to do their bidding.

    F*** ’em all.

  19. Not sabotage, they opposed it till the amendment provisions were agreed on.

    Voting against it was a political tool.

    The whole thing was a big staged drama, as always, for the gullible public.

    The main group who did all the work, were not grandstanding about it all. (warren sanders were ranting but all the other dems were working whipping and getting it done quietly) It worked.

    The Rs gave in.

    The bill is stronger. America wins.

    Provided it makes it through congress later after the other nations are ready to sign.

    Thank Durbin, Reid, Schumer – the usual hard working powerhorses for doing the work and writing it and whipping it.

    IF it is good when it is ready for a vote.

    Obama isn’t going to agree to anything to screw up his legacy. It is a good deal or no deal.

  20. I just checked those stats and it is 27% increase per item of all you purchase, so saying – a big mac isn’t very impressive.

    If you spend $1,000 a month now on goods it will be $270 more per month. So people on fixed incomes will just have to eat cat food until the government gives them $270 more per month COLA.

    That is an economic situation in our country that is not sustainable over wide spread regions. The cost of food stamps – must go up. Retirement is set, so you old people just eat cat food, so sorry.

    What is simple on a letter is not so simple to economists. But fine, everybody gets a raise, Bernie said so.

  21. Sorry- trade agreements have always been handled the way the president was doing it.

    Warren & Sanders decided to be populist. Fine. but then Warren had to one-up it by lying about it being secretive- she had access to it but declined to read it and then proceeded to basically call the president stupid. Do you think he would have not learned the lesson from NAFTA? Do you think he was dumb enough to not make it stronger and better than NAFTA?

    Sorry- he was treated disrespectfully by Warren & Sanders who could have easily voiced their opinions to him privately- not on the public stage. They acted like they were speaking truth to power- and some people actually believe them. To me, they looked like a left version of Chris Christie: a bully and a fool.

  22. So that’s your excuse? Because of the slight problem of a COLA lag, everyone else should starve?

    I don’t think so. The cost of food stamps will go DOWN. As more folks become less dependent on them.

    I’ve heard every doom and gloom prediction concerning minimum wage increases, and not one has ever come to pass.
    That’s 27% for McDonalds. And it too will take a time lag to implement. Why do you refuse to pay attention?

  23. DJ, she is for raising the minimum wage and always has been. So am I. Just not doubling it for all the reasons I said above. And other reasons.

    For example a few weeks ago there were stories in the news of some good guy type comic book store (or maybe it was video game store?) owner in Seattle taking donations from his customers to pay his staff because he put a sign up letting them know he was closing due to wages. They chipped in and are keeing him a float. Not a national plan…

    not everyone can cope with the raise and businesses, small businesses, will collapse first. The big guys can handle the loss, not little bakeries in little towns.

  24. and Dj, she might have come out in support of this today, I don’t know I have been here. It has nothing to do with her. I formulate my opinions on my own…thank you very much…

  25. One comic book shop owner, closes down, and it’s “The End of the World as We Know It!!!”

    I wasn’t aware that Seattle was populated by one business and that it was just one comic book shop.

  26. I agree he definately will avoid the biggest problem with NAFTA and that is that the environmental and labor provisions were not on the main body of the bill in nafta so it wasn’t enforceable on other nations without major legal wrangling.

    In the final version of this bill it will be incorporated or useless, like the protections under NAFTA ended up being.

    They learned from that and so many other trade deals over the years.

    We are either part of the game or out of the game, and like obama kept reminding us

    Because China.

  27. “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not” Thomas Jefferson

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government” Thomas Jefferson

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the Labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them …”
    Thomas Jefferson

  28. As I recall Thomas Jefferson was also a slave owner….interesting that.

    The minimum wage, (for those who work) and it’s subsequent raisings- have been around since….

    1938.
    http://www.dol.gov/minwage/chart1.htm

    And we STILL Have Democracy, Citizens United notwithstanding.
    jimmyk, still wrong. Your argument would work well against Corporate Welfare.

  29. Yeah, a lot of people bought the “secret” idea. And the reasons to keep it confined to congress is very valid. Also, this is just the Fast Track part and people keep thinking it killed the deal on the first vote and the dems were heroes. Hillary has no access to it (in private sector for years now) and yet they demand her to give a full opinion on it – before it is known what provisions will be added to it too – which is something they didn’t conclude at the time even.

    Then we the public will have months with it. Then they vote on it (fast track up or down or slow track with everybody adding pork…) then all those nations sign it and well, the dramatics are uncalled for. It is normal sausage making. They have done this frequently, no biggie and she certainly knew, if I knew the reasons! The member countries each must be kept from knowing the other countries deal details. Simply.

  30. Of course not. Anecdotal is not evidence. It is just he personified it for me and I realted a “person in the news” story. Real people with real issues due to things that are implemented beyond their control. I am sure he was not alone but I haven’t studied it at all.

    Seattle is a city, not even the type of place I am concerned about. I am worried about rural areas that struggle to keep up now. Few customers – smaller lee way.

  31. Todays “liberals” want more government, more regulation, more control over our lives, etc.
    I am more than sure the Founding Fathers came here to escape those things( as well as to gain religious freedom, economic opportunity, Etc).
    Their desires for this country were set out in the Constitution that liberals hate.
    I know you are wrong because liberals are mostly wrong and continue to prove it every day.

  32. Todays “conservatives” want more government, more regulation, more control over our lives, etc. As evidence by their actions with the Patriot Act, NSA, and their War on Women

    I am more than sure the Founding Fathers came here to escape those things( as well as to gain religious freedom, economic opportunity, Etc).
    Their desires for this country were set out in the Constitution that conservatives hate.
    I know you are wrong because conservatives are always wrong and continue to prove it every day.

  33. I just went and read the actual letter. And then I reread what jason has above.

    The letter calls for no such thing for employees at all. NOT that I can see in the letter. So I looked around and all those senators are asking for in that letter is to provide a:

    PREFERENCE to certain EMPLOYERS who are models of providing better benefits.

    That is the whole nut of the letter. It isn’t about more money to employees, as the synopsis said.

    I keep reading things here that are wrong and then by the time I figure it out I have been discussing it with my ass out.

    There are legitimate interpretations elsewhere, and less noise about BERNIE the man who Slate calls: the gun nut.

  34. Jason said: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 17 Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to use his executive powers to help American workers. Sen. Sanders and the Senate Democrats urged President Obama to boost the wages of federal contract worker to a living wage. The letter didn’t specify what wage they were seeking, but liberals, including Sen. Sanders, have suggested a living wage of $15/hour.
    The issue has the potential to be a big winner for President Obama and the Democratic Party. With this letter, Sen. Sanders (I-VT) reminded Democrats that he is an outspoken advocate for low-wage workers. Since the odds of the Republican-controlled Congress passing a minimum wage increase are exactly zero, Democrats are going to have to action where they can to help the country’s underpaid workers.

    The contrast between Democrats and Republicans could not be clearer. While Republicans are trying to cut taxes for the wealthy, Democrats are pushing for higher wages.

  35. Cat got jimmyk tongue. If I was called out I would step up to defend my position. I guess being a conservative I can say anything and don’t have to back it up. What a country

  36. The conclusion by jason:

    President Obama has an opportunity to do something important for a group of low-wage workers, and something tells me that his executive action pen will be wielded again.

    As I said above, this has nothing to do with giving anything to workers. What Jason wrote is his own ideas, not what they said, did or intended.

    This, combined with the factually inept TPP and the crazy Bernie Terrifying Wall Street etc., and President Michelle, to name a few are not very deep.

    Where are the Hillary stories btw? Am I in the wrong place? Seems to me I am.

  37. I have been here two weeks or so but this is very poor standards of research.

    This entire thing is WRONG again. You should retract what was incorrect in several columns.

  38. Careful now. I understand your passion . As progressives we have different ideas on how to get to a more perfect union. It does not serve us to attack each other, Debate yes but to attack no. And trust on this I have done my fair share of attacking my own side. I am not saying like Rodney king can we just get along but in the end we should have on goal in mind, destroying the republican party by any means for the good of the country and our children

  39. Dj, read the letter then read what he wrote.

    Same with TPP.

    Same with Wall Street.

    and more for two weeks it has been lots of mistakes and non-sense not facts.

    You are entitled to your opinions but not your own facts. Especially an author of a political column. The readers are not his editor.

  40. CORRECTION:

    What I wrote above and below this is all based on Jason’s errors in the story above. So do not look for what it is ACTUALLY about in this thread.

    They are all therefore incorrect and off topic, as all of us are misinformed.

    This is what they said in the letter, this is all, not anything he said it said.

    Writing to Obama this request:

    “We therefore call on you to issue an executive order giving preference in government contracting to ‘model employers’ who pay a living wage, offer fair healthcare and retirement benefits, grant paid leave for sickness and care-giving, provide full-time hours and stable schedules, and give workers a voice through collective bargaining so they do not need to strike to be heard,”

    In other words, they want to give some companies special preference in dealing with the government. Now isn’t that special. Anyone want to argue for that?

  41. In reality Obama has said over the years he’d like to see the minimum wage go to $10

    Not $double the current rate. No wonder it made no sense, it wasn’t real.

    Protests demand $15/32,000 a year minimum would crush all the small businesses I know and cause many large companies to do with even less service.

  42. I worked as a Contract Specialist for the Federal Government for 14 years. Preferences are given all the time to small businesses, minority-owned businesses, Veteran-owned businesses, etc. The compensation package of a business is subject to evaluation as part of the source selection process.

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