THE DAILY WHIP: FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013

For Immediate Release:

March 15, 2013

Contact:

Katie GrantStephanie Young, 202-225-3130

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes” per side

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.. 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.

H.R. 803 SKILLS Act (Rep. Foxx – Education and the Workforce /Judiciary/Agriculture/Veterans’ Affairs/Energy and Commerce /Transportation and Infrastructure) (One Hour of Debate). H.R. 803 would freeze WIA funding for FY2014-2020 while also consolidating or eliminating 35 programs, most of them WIA programs, into state block grants. The bill would also limit the role of organized labor in Workforce Investment Boards.

H.R. 803 is partisan legislation that would harm a national WIA system already damaged by years of inadequate and diminishing resources. The bill would freeze WIA program funding for FY2014-2020 (it has already has been cut by half since 2001) and would also consolidate or eliminate 35 programs, most of them WIA programs, into state block grants. That block granting would give states wide discretion to pick and choose eligible groups of participants according to the political and ideological predispositions of their Governors. For 40 years, Democrats and Republicans worked together on job training legislation. This year, Republicans refused to negotiate in drafting the bill, leading to a Democratic walk-out during this year's Education and the Workforce Committee markup of H.R. 803.

The bill also changes both the composition and function of Workforce Investment Boards to increase corporate representation in operating the employment and job training system by removing the requirement that a minimum number of the members of state and local boards be selected by organized labor. Using this measure, partisan Republican Governors could halt the appointment of labor members. Ignoring the voice of workers and excluding labor representatives would undermine the accountability of the WIA system and damage its standing in the nation’s public policy discourse.

Many of our nation's jobseekers were chronically unemployed long before the last economic recession began and continue to be disproportionally represented in unemployment figures. These include youth, minorities, older workers, persons with disabilities, veterans, and those who lack English proficiency or a high school diploma. This is who the workforce investment system was designed to serve. However, these workers have the most to lose under the Republican bill because Governors and businesses will have an incentive to direct services to those who least need them, rather than helping those who have the greatest needs. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

The Rule makes in order 5 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, and 1 amendment in the nature of a substitute, debatable for 20 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The amendments are:

Rep. Foxx Manager’s Amendment. Provides an application process for local or regional boards to be designated as a local workforce investment area, authorizes GAO to complete two studies related to Workforce Investment Act programs, and makes technical and clarifying amendments.
Rep. Gallego Amendment.
Adds advanced manufacturing in the state and local plans sections to assist American Veterans obtain better job opportunities in that field.
Rep. Young (AK)/Rep. Cole (OK)/Rep. Noem Amendment.
Changes the percentage of authorized State Allotment funding set aside for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian employment and training grants. It replaces a provision that limits the set aside to no more than 1 percent of total funding with a fixed 1 percent guarantee
Rep. Black Amendment.
Expresses a sense of Congress that any administrative costs to federal, state, or local entities as a result of this act be off-set by funds currently being used for marketing and outreach at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Rep. Garrett Amendment.
Requires that if reports due to Congress that evaluate the programs that are covered by this legislation are not transmitted on or before the time period specified for that report, amounts authorized to be appropriated under this title shall be reduced by 10 percent for the next fiscal year and reduced by an additional 10 percent for each subsequent fiscal year until such report is transmitted to Congress.
Rep. Tierney/Rep. Hinojosa/Rep. Miller (CA) Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute.
(20 minutes of debate) Fully reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act in a responsible way by streamlining, improving, and aligning programs; using strategic partnerships; strengthening program accountability; protecting the voices of workers and those with expertise in training at workforce investment boards; ensuring disadvantaged populations receive services; and promoting innovation and best practices. It makes the workforce investment and training system more effective so that workers can acquire the skills that growing industries and businesses desire. 

Bill Text for H.R. 803:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 803:
CRS Report – Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization Proposals in the 113th Congress: Comparison of Major Features of Current Law and H.R. 803

 
The Daily Quote

“Thanks to this plan, nobody can take the House Budget Committee chairman seriously anymore as a policy wonk or a true deficit hawk. [Rep. Paul Ryan’s] budget is the work of an ideologue. It’s a bargaining ploy that even Ryan concedes is merely ‘a vision.’ It is full of holes and magic asterisks, the biggest being his refusal to detail any of the middle-class tax deductions he would have to scrap to get to his 25 percent income tax rate… He’d impose big reductions for food stamps, college tuition aid, child nutrition programs and a slew of other programs that help the least among us. Even here, Ryan doesn’t come clean. He fuzzes up exactly how such cuts might be made by lumping them together in large categories… It takes nerve to dismiss the results of an election that Ryan himself called a ‘referendum.’ The question is: Will House Republicans be held accountable for ignoring that verdict while putting forward something this radical and unrealistic?”

-    E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, 3/13/13