Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Congressman Benishek's 40-hour work week a scam

To the Editor:

In his Jan. 9, 2015 “Benishek Bulletin,” Congressman Benishek announced he had sponsored the “Save American Workers Act” claiming it would “Restore the 40 hour work week.” Sounds good doesn’t it? But I wondered just how this bill would help part-time workers obtain a 40 hour work week. I did some research and learned that it won’t.

Beginning this year under The Affordable Care Act (ACA), large businesses having 100 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees are required to provide health insurance to at least 95% percent of its FTE employees and their dependents up to age 26, or pay a fee. Under the ACA, employees are considered full-time equivalent if they work at least 30 hours a week. This provision was put into the Act to prevent large firms from dialing back worker’s hours to just under 40 per week to avoid having to provide them health insurance coverage. Under Benishek’s bill, this provision will be increased to 40 hours so large employers will be able reduce employees to 39 hours per week and avoid having them considered full time for health insurance coverage under the ACA.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Benishek’s bill would result in an increase in the number of uninsured workers (and their families). It will reduce the number of employees receiving employment-based coverage (by about 1 million) and increase the number of people obtaining coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Program or health insurances exchanges (by between 500,000 and 1 million). CBO also estimates that Benishek’s bill will increase the country’s budget deficits by $53.2 billion over the period 2015-2025. There is no provision in the bill to pay for these costs.

The Statutory Pay-As-You Go ACT of 2010 requires that new legislation changing taxes, fees or mandatory expenditures taken together must not increase projected deficits, Benishek’s bill cleverly circumvents this requirement by directing the Office of Management and Budget to exclude the projected deficits from the scorecard used to enforce the pay- as-you-go rules.

Benishek’s “Save American Workers Act” will not “Restore the 40 hour work week”; According to the CBO, it will do just the opposite and increase the deficit. It is simply a scam.

— Al Warren, Ewen

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