Bishop Offers Motion to Mantain Protections For Veterans and Health Care Workers
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) offered the Motion to Recommit on the Conference Report on H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012. The motion attempted to strike the section of the conference report regarding the determination of whether TRICARE network providers are considered subcontractors. By striking this section, the motion would guarantee that employees of TRICARE subcontractors and other defense contractors are afforded labor protections for civil rights, disabilities, and veterans. 183 Members of Congress voted in favor of the resolution.
Below in text are remarks that Congressman Bishop made on the motion during general debate on H.R. 1540.
“In a few minutes I will offer a Motion to Recommit that would strike a misguided provision in the conference report that would exempt TRICARE network providers from our labor protection laws.
“Section 715 of this Conference Report excludes the TRICARE network health care providers from being considered subcontractors for purposes of any law. Section 715 is trying to override pending litigation and longstanding civil rights laws under Executive Order 11246 of 1965, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.
“The civil rights protections contained in these laws have existed for decades and served to protect millions of workers from race, sex, and other forms of illegal discrimination. Large federal contractors are simply required to have an affirmative action plan to assure that these minority groups are not being discriminated against and the Department of Labor reviews these records. The law currently exempts employers with fewer than 50 employees and who do not meet minimum contract dollar amounts.
“The health care industry employed approximately 16 million workers in 2009. Hospitals and similar entities employ tens of thousands of minorities, women, veterans, and low-wage workers – groups that historically and currently depend on basic assurances of fair treatment. The health care industry is the largest growing sector of employment in this country.
“Veterans would be especially hard-hit under this change in law.
“There are close to 900,000 unemployed veterans in America right now. Despite their unique experience and leadership skills, wounded warriors and veterans often struggle to find meaningful employment in the civilian sector. This is why Congress passed laws, enforced by the Department of Labor to protect the brave men and women who have served our country.
“OFCCP ensures that federal contractors and subcontractors don’t discriminate against our veterans and instead, take steps to recruit, hire, train and promote qualified, protected veterans.
“TRICARE providers, the very people that provide health care to our nation’s Veterans, are arguing that they should be exempt from adhering to the very regulations that were passed to protect our Veterans. This action would gravely undermine our efforts to employ Veterans.
“These large government health care contractors should not be exempted from civil rights responsibilities that apply to all other similar contractors and subcontractors.
“Section 715 is a brazen attempt by large health care industries to overturn pending litigation and exempt themselves from civil rights scrutiny. Congress should vote against weakening civil rights law.
“I urge my colleagues to join with me in support of my motion to recommit the conference report.
“I yield back the balance of my time.”