One of the cool changes announced yesterday was the new Middle Class Task Force headed by VP Joe Biden. It even has its own webpage, of course, which adds “strong” to middle class.
Members of the Middle Class Task Force include:
The announced goals of the task force are:
* Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
* Improving work and family balance
* Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
* Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
* Protecting retirement security
And then there is the membership of the task force:
Vice President Biden, Chair; the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Commerce, as well as the Directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.
And there you see the big glitch to getting this going and making a meaningful difference.
Yep, a Labor Secretary who knows comes from a working class background and knows something about the value of unions for lifting people out of poverty would be a great leader for this critically important department. And she would be essential for the Middle Class Taskforce if it is to go anywhere.
In her four terms in Congress, Solis co-authored the Green Jobs Act, which later became part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The Green Jobs Act authorized $125 million for workforce training programs targeted to veterans, displaced workers, at-risk youth and individuals in families under 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
Before coming to Washington in 2001, Solis served as chairwoman of the California state Senate labor committee. In a letter to union leaders across the country, Pulaski outlines her accomplishments in the legislature:
* She advanced legislation to protect the most exploited of workers, including farm workers, garment workers and janitors.
* She strengthened penalties against child-labor law violators.
* She led the efforts to improve minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and state disability insurance.
* She established the first study on the viability of a state-paid family leave program, which paved the way for California to become the first state in the union to adopt such a program.
* During the huge campaign by corporate interests and anti-worker politicians to silence workers’ voice through the paycheck-deception Prop. 226, Solis contributed $100,000 to help in its defeat and Pulaski says “she led the way and surpassed any other elected official in support of labor’s battle.”
So, of course, the Republicans are putting up a huge fight and demonstrating their understanding of bipartisanship by putting all sorts of hurdles in the way of getting Hilda Solis confirmed as Secretary of Labor. link