MEMO: Trump Policies Hurting Hardworking Americans
September 1, 2017
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: The Democratic National Committee
DATE: September 1, 2017
RE: Trump Policies Hurting Hardworking Americans
As we celebrate Labor Day this weekend and take time to honor the contributions workers have made to our country, here is a look at some of the many ways Donald Trump has turned his back on hardworking Americans.
Trump said he would fight for all Americans, but he has repeatedly taken steps that would reduce wages, hurt workers and consumers, and make it more difficult for working families to get ahead and stay ahead.
Americans work too hard to have a president who limits their opportunities and stands in the way of their success. As Donald Trump continues pushing an agenda that hurts middle-class families, Democrats will keep fighting to protect workers and consumers, and expand opportunity for all Americans.
The Trump administration announced that it would halt a rule designed to address pay discrimination by not requiring businesses to report data on how much they pay workers based on gender and race.
Wall Street Journal: “The White House on Tuesday said it will halt a planned Obama-era rule that would have required businesses to begin collecting data about how much they pay workers of different genders, races and ethnic groups, saying it posed a burden to employers. The data-collection requirement was proposed by the Obama administration in 2016 as part of its efforts to address pay disparities among workers of different groups.”
Trump’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration – charged with protecting workers on the job – erased data on worker deaths from the home page of its website, and changed its policy to disclose fewer fatal accidents in the future.
Politico: “The federal department charged with protecting workers erased data on workplace deaths from the home page of its website Friday — and changed its policy to disclose fewer fatal accidents in the future. For the past several years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had maintained a running list of workers killed on the job — including the date, name and cause of death — near the top of its home page. The list included every worker death reported to OSHA, regardless of whether the company was issued a citation.”
Trump’s Department of Labor is planning to repeal a rule that prevents employers from pooling workers’ tips, which would mean that tipped employees would take home less of the money they earned.
The Hill: “The Trump administration is planning to quash an Obama-era rule that prevents employers from pooling workers’ tips. The change could allow restaurants to share tips waiters receive, for example, with untipped employees such as kitchen cooks. The Department of Labor (DOL) announced its plan to change the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulation in its semi-annual Unified Regulatory Agenda in July.”
Trump’s Department of Labor is seeking to delay the deadline for financial advisers to fully comply with the fiduciary rule, designed to protect consumers’ retirement savings by requiring brokers, financial advisers and insurance agents to act in their best interest. Delaying this rule could cost $10.9 billion in lost retirement savings over 30 years.
New York Times: “The Labor Department, which sent the proposal to the Office of Management and Budget, said it wanted to push back the full implementation of the so-called fiduciary rule to July 1, 2019, from Jan. 1, 2018, according to a court document filed in Federal District Court in Minnesota. The first part of the fiduciary rule took effect in June, and requires brokers, financial advisers and insurance agents to put their customers’ interests ahead of their own, at least when they are handling their retirement accounts.”
Economic Policy Institute: “Using the same methodology, we estimate that an additional 18 months of delay of key provisions in the rule announced yesterday will cost retirement savers an additional $10.9 billion dollars over the next 30 years.”
The Trump administration terminated an infrastructure program that would have brought opportunity to cities and created thousands of high-quality jobs, especially in low-income and minority communities.
Newsweek: “But with momentum on infrastructure stuck in neutral, the administration this week is quietly moving ahead to repeal a two-year-old initiative dating from the Obama administration that might be the only dynamic infrastructure and jobs program in existence at the federal level. According to its August Significant Rulemaking Report, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has set Friday as the termination date for a program that has already enabled states and cities to create thousands of new, high-wage transportation and construction jobs in some of the nation’s most depressed local labor markets.”
The Trump administration ended a program that helps people save for retirement who did not have access to workplace savings plans.
New York Times: “An Obama-era program that created savings accounts to help more people put away money for retirement is being shut down by the Treasury Department, which deemed the program too expensive. The 30,000 participants in the program, known as myRA and intended for people who did not have access to workplace savings plans, will receive an email on Friday morning alerting them of the closure.”
The Trump administration took steps to undo a Department of Labor rule that extended overtime pay to 4.2 million workers. Undoing this rule could cost $12 billion in earned wages lost over 10 years.
Reuters: “The Trump administration on Tuesday pushed forward with its bid to undo an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to 4.2 million workers and said it was considering treating workers differently based on location and industry.”
Obama White House: “In total, the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law, and it is expected to boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years.”
Trump’s Education Department threw a lifeline to more than 800 programs that failed to meet the Obama-era gainful employment rule, which required for-profit colleges to prove their graduates’ loan payments didn’t exceed 20 percent of their income or 8 percent of total earnings. This would cut into the $4.2 billion taxpayers could save from this rule over 10 years.
MarketWatch: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a change to an Obama-era rule Thursday that borrower advocates say will put students at risk of being preyed on by schools that are supposed to prepare students for careers. If the Department of Education decides career-training programs don’t adequately prepare their students for employment, those programs can now dispute the agency’s findings with their own data with no baseline requirements as to the size of the sample — as long as DeVos deems them to be reliable metrics. […] Under the rule, developed by the Obama administration, career-training programs, many of which are at for-profit colleges, would be required to prove that their graduates’ loan payments don’t exceed 20% of their discretionary income or 8% of their total earnings.”
Brookings: “Early indicators of the success of GE regulations are promising. At the time of the initial proposal of the GE regulations, the Department of Education estimated it would save the public approximately $4.2 billion over 10 years due to reductions in federal financial aid costs.”
Trump signed an executive order that revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order that provided protections for workers and women workers in particular.
NBC News: “With little notice, President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order that advocates say rolls back hard-fought victories for women in the workplace. […] In an attempt to keep the worst violators from receiving taxpayer dollars, the Fair Pay order included two rules that impacted women workers: paycheck transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims.”
The Trump administration rolled back a rule designed to protect contract and franchise workers from mistreatment.
Reuters: “The US Labor Department on Wednesday said it was rescinding the Obama administration's standard for determining when companies are “joint employers” of contract and franchise workers, in the agency's first major shift in labor policy under President Donald Trump. […] Previously, companies were considered joint employers when they hired and fired workers and set wages. The Obama administration said a worker's level of ‘economic dependence’ on a company should also be considered.”
Trump repealed a rule that helped protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination.
Rolling Stone: “After failing to repeal Obamacare last week, the president succeeded in repealing an Obama-era executive order that helped protect gay people from employment discrimination.”
The Trump administration looked to exclude construction and shipyard workers from protections against exposure to beryllium, a toxic material that can cause lung disease.
The Hill: “The Trump administration wants to exclude the shipbuilding and construction industries from an Obama-era rule to reduce workers’ exposure to a toxic material that can cause a deadly lung disease.”
Trump’s Justice Department switched sides in a Supreme Court case regarding an employee’s rights to bring class-action lawsuits against their employer, dropping its previous support for workers.
Politico: “The DOJ said Friday that it will switch sides in a Supreme Court case, dropping its previous support for workers to throw its weight behind management. The case, NLRB v. Murphy Oil, addresses whether an employment contract that requires the employee to waive his or her right to bring a class-action lawsuit against the employer violates the National Labor Relations Act.”
The Trump administration reversed a scheduled ban on a pesticide that is harmful to farm workers. Following the reversal, many farm workers fell ill from the pesticide.
The Guardian: “A pesticide that was set to be banned before the Trump administration reversed course has been blamed for causing sickness to nearly 50 farm workers who were exposed to the chemical in California.”
Trump’s budget would slash the Labor Department’s budget by $2.4 billion – or roughly 20 percent – and targeted more than half of the cuts at job training programs.
Bloomberg: “The White House asked to reduce Labor Department spending by $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2018, a roughly 20 percent decrease that would largely be accomplished by slashing the nation’s workforce training programs.”
Wall Street Journal: “Reduced spending on training accounts for more than half of total reduction to the Labor Department’s budget.”
Trump’s budget would cut job training programs by almost 40 percent.
Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump May 23 requested a $1.3 billion cut in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants for adult, youth, and dislocated worker training programs that have previously garnered bipartisan support. That would represent a 39 percent reduction.”
Trump’s budget would eliminate job training programs for older Americans and disadvantaged youths.
Wall Street Journal: “The budget proposes to eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which provides part-time work to unemployed, low-income people 55 and older. The program intends to transition those workers to unsubsidized employment. Cutting the program would save the Labor Department $434 million, according to the White House budget released Tuesday.”
Washington Post: “The administration would also shrink Job Corps, a program that provides workplace training for disadvantaged youth, by closing centers that ‘do a poor job educating and preparing students’ for the labor force.”
Trump’s budget would eliminate a job training program for farm workers.
Wall Street Journal: “Also cut would be an $82 million program aimed at training migrant and seasonal farm workers. In both cases, the administration said those workers would be eligible for similar services through Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs, a separate Labor Department division.”
Trump’s budget would cut funding for grants to train workers in dangerous jobs.
Huffington Post: “The proposal would cut what are known as Harwood grants, which are doled out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The grants fund non-profits to train workers in dangerous jobs. Backers say the grants help save money by reducing costly on-the-job injuries and deaths.”
Trump’s budget would disband a Labor Department office that polices discrimination among federal contractors.
Washington Post: “The Trump administration is planning to disband the Labor Department division that has policed discrimination among federal contractors for four decades, according to the White House’s newly proposed budget, part of wider efforts to rein in government programs that promote civil rights. As outlined in Labor’s fiscal 2018 plan, the move would fold the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, now home to 600 employees, into another government agency in the name of cost-cutting.”
Trump’s budget provides funding to reinstate a Bush-era office designed to audit large international unions while imposing severe cuts to a division that helps ensure workers around the world are treated fairly.
Bloomberg: “The Office of Labor-Management Standards, which oversees union disclosure requirements, would get a 22 percent boost to $46.6 million in FY 2018. About $1.7 million of the program increases would be dedicated to the restoration of an office from the George W. Bush administration that was designed to audit large international unions. The Obama administration disbanded the office, which has been criticized by Democrats for harassing unions rather than improving transparency for members.”
Bloomberg: “The White House also proposed taking a 77 percent hack at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), to $19 million from $86 million. That comes despite the urging of the business and labor communities to maintain ILAB funding to ensure U.S. workers are competing on a level playing field abroad.”
Medicaid cuts from Trump’s healthcare repeal would put rural hospitals at risk, which could then hurt local jobs, property values and even schools.
CNN Money: “Since 2010, at least 79 rural hospitals have closed across the country, and nearly 700 more are at risk of closing. These hospitals serve a largely older, poorer and sicker population than most hospitals, making them particularly vulnerable to changes made to Medicaid funding. […] And a rural hospital closure goes beyond people losing health care. Jobs, property values and even schools can suffer.”
Under Trump’s healthcare repeal, states – particularly those that expanded Medicaid – would have experienced severe jobs losses and deep economic declines.
The Gazette: “That’s according to a new report out Wednesday by George Washington University and the Commonwealth Fund … What’s more, states that expanded Medicaid, such as Iowa, are likely to experience more severe job losses and deeper economic declines, though nonexpansion states would see substantial losses as well.”