Obama: GOP ‘can’t talk middle class and then do things that hurt working people’

September 7, 2015 in News by RBN

President Obama speaks at the Greater Boston Labor Council Labor Day Breakfast, Monday, in Boson. Obama will sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to offer their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Washington Examiner | Page Winfield Cunningham

President Obama advanced his quest for more workplace protections on Labor Day, announcing in Boston that federal contractors must now offer at least seven paid sick days to workers and urging Congress to pass similar requirements for all employers.

The president devoted much of his address to slamming Republicans in Congress and those on the campaign trail for opposing those efforts, which include raising the minimum wage and requiring employers to provide paid maternity and sick leave.

And he warned Republicans against shutting down the government at the end of the month by insisting on defunding Planned Parenthood — a brewing battle among conservatives that GOP leadership is trying to tamp down.

“A shutdown would be completely irresponsible, it would be an unforced error, a fumble on the goal line,” Obama told a crowd of about 750 supporters at the annual Greater Boston Labor Council breakfast sponsored by the AFL-CIO.

The executive order is the president’s latest step in pushing for stricter labor laws, which he argues would bring the U.S. into step with other developed countries. This summer, his administration proposed allowing Americans earning up to $50,440 to earn overtime pay, raising the threshold from $23,660, a proposal the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fighting.

Obama mocked Republicans — especially the presidential candidates — for trying to adopt a middle-class message as election season ramps up.

“Republicans are trying to rebrand themselves as the party of middle class,” he said. “I’m glad they’re doing that. I’d love Republicans to rethink their position on issues, but you can’t talk middle class and then do things that hurt working people.”

He added that he’s “so glad” he’s not on the ballot this time around.