MOUNT VERNON — Members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently returned to session following the election break. District 7 Rep. Bob Gibbs, who was successfully re-elected to another term Nov. 8, is looking forward to changes in the administration following the recent election results.
“I think you’re going to see some big changes made. [Speaker] Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have already met and are working on the transition. The House Republicans have put together The Better Way which addresses Obamacare, national security, tax reform, poverty and the separation of powers,” Gibbs said. “We’re going to replace Obamacare with a market-based, patient-driven plan. And you will see President Trump rescind the executive orders that Obama did. That should happen immediately.”
Gibbs expects an aggressive agenda with a lot of work getting done in a short time period.
Congressional term limits
Questions have been raised in the past about imposing Congressional term limits, and Gibbs said that President-elect Trump has talked about this on his campaign trail as a possible reform. Options that Gibbs has heard proposed are 12 years for senators and six years for House members.
“I’m not a long-termer, but I think six years is too soon. I think that causes some unintended consequences,” Gibbs said. “If he said 12 or 16 years for everybody, I probably would support that. But I can’t support six. It’s just not long enough.”
Gibbs said he is not in favor of congressmen who are in office 20 or 30 years, saying that this is “not healthy.”
Gender pay gap
Recent reports are showing that on average in the U.S., women are earning 80 cents on the dollar as compared to men. “Equal work, equal pay … I don’t have a problem with that. I think that’s fair. If everything is equal in performance, then gender shouldn’t be an issue,” Gibbs said.
But Gibbs believes that the idea of equal pay can be distorted, since females can have different roles in their jobs.
“It depends on the job. Females can get a long maternity leave, and you can get a gap right there. So you want to make sure it’s ‘apples to apples,’” Gibbs said. “And there’s also more female teachers than male teachers. So there can be a distortion there.”
Drug testing and electronic reporting Gibbs is one of 13 Congressmen pushing to stop the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s proposed rule on workplace injury and illness reporting, following complaints from business groups and a lawsuit filed by the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action.
OSHA’s rule was finalized in May and focuses on new record-keeping requirements that raises privacy concerns for employers and employees by making workplace injury records open and available to the public. Also contained in the rule is a provision by OSHA that employers cannot require a drug test unless employee drug use is likely to have contributed to an incident, and those found violating the policy could be fined or cited.
“We cannot continue to allow the regulatory state to grow unchecked,” Gibbs said. “OSHA’s new reporting rule not only risks the confidentiality of personally-identifiable information, but restricts employers on how to appropriately maintain and promote workplace safety. I urge House leadership and the Appropriations Committee to prevent the Department of Labor from implementing this rule.”