What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : HR 3043. (Fiscal 2008 Labor, Health, Education spending) Marchant of Texas amendment that would reduce funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 644)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
HR 3043. (Fiscal 2008 Labor, Health, Education spending) Marchant of Texas amendment that would reduce funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 644     Jul 17, 2007
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This vote was on an amendment by Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, that would reduce funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs by $58 million.  The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in fiscal 2008.

The Bureau of International Labor Affairs helps promote U.S. labor policies overseas, including promoting safe, stable, economically secure work environments where the rights of women and children are respected.

Marchant said his amendment would reduce funding for the agency to the level that President Bush requested.

“The bureau was originally responsible for the Department of Labor’s overseas research projects and international labor workers’ rights, primarily research and advocacy. However, in recent years the bureau has taken on grant-making activities. The bureau’s grant assistance is already provided for by the Department of State, and this amendment would restructure the bureau’s activities to advocacy and research only,” Marchant said.

David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said one of the benefits of this agency is that it helps bolster working conditions overseas, so that U.S. workers do not have to compete with the kind of prices for consumer goods that can only result from abusive labor practices.

“The purpose of this International Labor Organization is to serve as the one agency that serves as a red flag when our workers’ wages are being undercut unfairly,” Obey said.  “If you really are comfortable with the idea of just letting the wonders of the world market determine what wages are for American workers, if you are really comfortable with the idea of letting substandard wages and substandard working conditions undercut legitimate American workers’ interests, then by all means vote for the gentleman’s amendment,” Obey said.

The amendment was rejected by a vote of 149-277.  All but one Democrat voted against the amendment (Gene Taylor of Mississippi).  Of Republicans present, 148 voted for the amendment and 49 voted against it.  The end result is that the bill went forward with funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs intact.

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