By James Park
In his second visit to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in 13 months, Vice President Joe Biden outlined plans to shore up America’s faltering middle class with jobs, tax policy and workers’ rights protections.
Biden also said the Obama administration intends to work to make the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) more worker friendly, even though two nominees are being held up by Senate Republicans. Biden said:
We haven’t gotten done yet what we’re going to do with the NLRB, but we’re going to get it done.
Introducing Biden, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted the report released last week by the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, which Biden chairs. The report listed several recommendations resulting from a year-long review of ways to assist middle-class workers and families.
At the release of the report, Biden said:
We know, though, that the most important thing we can do … to maintain people’s ability to get to and stay in the middle class is a good-paying job.
The recommendations include doubling the child and dependent care tax credit for middle-class families and increased funding for the child care and development fund.
The administration also supports enhancing overtime rules to ensure workers are accurately classified as regular employees instead of independent contractors, Biden said. He and the president believe that there cannot be a strong economy without a strong middle class. He said:
Right now, the middle class in this country is nowhere near as strong as it needs to be.