The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 27, 2000

Who will lead the fight for working families?

By The Building Tradesman

Over the last eight years, most of which has been spent with a Republican-dominated Congress, President Bill Clinton, through his power to introduce and veto legislation, has often been the only person in Washington able to stand up for working people.

With uncertain prospects for winning back the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 7, electing Vice President Al Gore to the presidency may be the only opportunity working people have to maintain that check and balance in our nation's capitol.

Following are a few issues that illustrate the distinctions between Gore and George W. Bush on some very important issues:

  1. Quality, affordable health care. Vice President Al Gore backs a strong Patients' Bill of Rights and wants to make sure every child in America has health insurance. In Texas, Gov. George W. Bush vetoed a patient protection bill and tried to restrict eligibility for the children's Health Insurance Program. Texas has the nation's highest percentage of children without health insurance.
  2. High-quality public education. Gore supports strong public schools and wants to invest in modernizing them and reducing class sizes. Bush supports using public funds for private school vouchers and opposes legislation to fix crumbling schools.
  3. Fair wages. Gore supports raising the minimum wage, backs fair pay to help close the pay gap between men and women and supports Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards. Bush opposed minimum wage increases in Texas three times, and he supports allowing states to "opt-out" of minimum wage requirements. He has remained silent on equal pay and opposes Davis-Bacon.
  4. A sound retirement system and health care for older Americans. Gore wants to invest a portion of the budget surplus to keep Social Security strong and provide a prescription drug benefit under Medicare. Bush proposes diverting a portion of Social Security funds into private accounts and says he'll consider raising the retirement age. Bush prefers a Medicare Plan that would raise the eligibility age and establish a voucher system.
  5. Good jobs and trade policies that benefit working families everywhere. Gore promises to put workers' rights and environmental protections into global trade and investment agreements. Bush does not.
  6. An administration working families can count on. Gore selected as his running mate Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) who has an 80 percent lifetime voting record on working family issues. Bush chose former Wyoming GOP Rep. Richard Cheney, whose working families voting record is just 6 percent - worse than Newt Gingrich's. Gore's appointments to crucial posts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, will support working families. Not Bush's.
  7. A union voice at work. Gore supports workers' freedom to choose a union and has fought against "paycheck deception" moves to silence workers' voice in politics. Bush is proud of his state's right-to-work status, has tried to eliminate or privatize thousands of union jobs in Texas and supports "paycheck deception."