Ehlers named 'Public Enemy of the Middle Class'

Those who have been following Congressman Ehlers closely shouldn't be too surprised by this.

In response to their full frontal, unapologetic assault on the middle class agenda in the 110th session of the U.S. House of Representatives, Americans United for Change today dubbed eighteen Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, ‘Public Enemies of the Middle Class,' including: Michelle Bachmann (MN-6), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), Steve King (IA-5), Scott Garrett (NJ-5), Bill Sali (ID-1), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), John Doolittle (CA-4), Roy Blunt (MO-7), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Tom Davis (VA-11), Thelma Drake (VA-2), Vernon Ehlers (MI-3), Mike Rogers (MI-8), Dean Heller (NV-2), Jon Porter (NV-3) and Peter Roskam (IL-6).

Specifically, Americans United took issue with the Representatives' votes against: 1) H.R.2, the Fair Minimum Wage Act which would raise the federal minimum wage for the first time since 1997 from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years; and 2) H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would level the playing field for middle class workers by fixing a badly broken system for forming unions and bargaining with big business and Corporate America for better pay and improved benefits. Both bills passed in the U.S. House with bipartisan support, and Americans United for Change, the non-profit advocacy organization perhaps best known for leading the fight to beat back President Bush's disastrous proposal to privatize Social Security in 2005, is now urging Members of the U.S. Senate to do the right thing and move each element of the middle class agenda to the President's desk.

"More and more of America's working people are struggling to make ends meet, and our middle class is disappearing," said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United for Change. "At least two meaningful pieces of legislation to reverse this trend have already come before Congress this year - and, unfortunately, these eighteen Members were no where to be found when the middle class families they represent needed them most. Just last week, they each opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give middle-class workers a fair shake by fixing a badly broken system for forming unions and bargaining with Corporate America for better pay, improved benefits and retirement security. Earlier this year, each of these Members opposed the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade. They couldn't even be counted on to stand up for the most vulnerable workers in their states who live in borderline poverty. A week later, half of these Members took their insensitivity towards the middle class plight a step further by opposing legislation to make college more affordable by slashing student loan interest rates in half. It's a question of priorities and a question of values - and it's clear that each of these Members have lost touch with the values of middle class Americans, whom overwhelmingly support these important initiatives. Until they get their priorities straight in Washington and stop pandering to the special interests at the expense of working people, we will continue to identify each Member as their districts' ‘middle class public enemy #1.'"

While more than 18 Republicans voted against both the minimum wage increase and the Employee Free Choice Act in the House, these 18 were selected as public enemies of the middle class because they either come from districts where these issues have gained added resonance because of the growing disparity between the wages of workers and corporate executives or because they had been identified as persuadable on these issues.

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