Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson op-ed in the Houston Community News: Saving American Workers

April 7, 2014
News
Houston Community News
Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 11:25 am
By Pete Olson
 
We all remember then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi's famous words when urging passage of the healthcare law known as Obamacare, "we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it." Since Obamacare was passed in 2010, we've learned a great deal about the problems that confront Americans when a sweeping mandate of government control is signed into law.
 
One of the many reasons I have always opposed this law is because it takes the decision making away from doctors and their patients (you). Another critical problem with this law is the dramatic change of the definition of full-time employment from a 40-hour week to a 30-hour week. Obamacare marks the first time that full-time employment has been explicitly defined in federal law. According to a Hoover Institution study, 2.6 million Americans – primarily the young, women, low-income earners and those without a college degree – are at the highest risk of having their hours and wages cut as a result of Obamacare’s 30-hour rule.
 
Last week, the President touted the success of Obamacare, citing the seven million Americans who have signed up for the law. What we don't know is how many of those Americans already had insurance, lost it and were forced to sign up for new coverage as a result of the law. The Administration won't tell us. And Obamacare certainly isn't a success to the hourly workers who are seeing their wages cut by as much as 26% thanks to the law's 30-hour work week rule. The more people learn about this law, the less they like it. That's why recent polls show a decline in the number of Americans that support Obamacare.
 
Since the law was passed, I've been talking to small business owners and countless Texans who want the law repealed. Small business owners have warned Washington for years about the impact of changing the definition of full-time employment. They correctly informed me that it would translate into employees seeing their hours cut, forcing many people to seek a second part-time job to make ends meet.
 
While I support a full repeal of this law, until we can achieve that goal, I will continue to do all that I can to minimize the harm to working families. That's why I worked closely with my colleague Rep. Todd Young to avert this crisis. Our solution is H.R. 2575, the Saving Americans Workers Act, a bill to repeal the Obamacare 30-hour definition of “full-time employment” and restore the traditional 40-hour definition for the purposes of the employer mandate. This bill passed the House last week with strong bipartisan support. I strongly urge the Senate to help American workers by passing it quickly and sending it to President Obama for his signature.
 
As atrocious as the government intrusion into healthcare is under Obamacare, the 30-hour definition ties the hands of employers by forcing them to reduce many of their part-time employees’ hours. This is a direct hit to job creation and the pocketbooks of struggling families, single parents and young Americans who need to work. Obamacare is wreaking havoc on our economy. That's why I have opposed this law from day one and will continue to do all I can to protect Americans by voting to fully repeal it and ensuring we protect employees when possible.
 
Olson is the member of Congress representing Texas District 22.