The latest attack on organized labor isn’t as open and blatant as the battles in Wisconsin, Ohio and other places. This time, the attack is on the sly.
And while it may be of national impact, South Carolina’s own Tim Scott has his hands on it.
Terms buried deep in a bill he recently co-sponsored would block a family from receiving food stamps if any member of its household was on strike.
Scott is one of five co-sponsors of H.R. 1135
, titled the “Welfare Reform Act of 2011.” Its stated goals are “to provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs.”
A layman’s translation of this premise is that it wants to ensure all food stamp users are actually qualified for their receipt.
But there’s that hidden term against labor unions, though. Buried in Section 202, the bill reads, “no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike(.)”
Note that “no member of a family unit” term; that means you, your wife and your 18-year-old son and daughter. The in-law you let stay in your home. The cousin occupying your spare room. If any one of you went on a labor strike, then all of you could be forced to go on a hunger strike of sorts, too.
Most importantly, it means that exercising legal rights afforded to you by the government would block you from receiving other legal rights the government is supposed to provide – and which you paid for all along during your work prior to any strike.
Of course, we already knew Scott was anti-union. He cosponsored the bill
that wound up putting Amendment 2 on the ballots in the last election. That amendment, which would eliminate one method of union formation in South Carolina, is now being challenged
by the National Labor Review Board, which threatened to sue the state.
In late 2009, he sponsored H. 2453, which aimed to acquire federal funding to promote South Carolina as an anti-union state.
Cosponsoring the Welfare Reform Act along with Scott are Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana), Rep. Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey) and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas).
All five as well as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) also cosponsored H.R. 1167
, the “Welfare Reform Restoration Act.” H.R. 1167 also includes the exact same terms to prevent an entire household from receiving food stamps if any member is participating in an organized labor strike.
First introduced on Mar. 16, H.R. 1135 was forwarded to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where it was last updated on Mar. 23. H.R. 1167 was introduced on Mar. 17, and was forwarded to the same committee.