Week Ahead ● Jobs and Economy
For Immediate Release: 
May 31, 2004
Contact Info: 

» Please view "The Weekly Whip" for the week of May 31, 2004

Items you may want to do press on:

  • Democrats' Education Agenda v. GOP's "Careers for the 21st Century/Hire Our Workers"  Lifelong Learning Agenda (H.R. 4409 - To reauthorize title II of the Higher Education Act of 1965; H.R. 4410 - To increase the amount of student loans that may be forgiven for highly qualified teachers in mathematics, science, and special education and for reading specialists; H.R. 4411 - To amend title VII of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ensure graduate opportunities in postsecondary education)
  • H.R. 444 - Back to Work Incentive Act of 2003

Democrats' Education Agenda v. GOP's "Careers for the 21st Century/Hire Our Workers"  Lifelong Learning or "Helping our Teachers Package"
Republicans will continue to tout their weak economic agenda, which CQ noted "has created more titles — 'Hire Our Workers,' the 'Jobs Action Team' and 'Careers for a 21st Century America' — than new legislation." [5/3/04]
The GOP will recycle three bills that the House has already passed with bipartisan majorities, and which they will tout as "helping teachers" and "helping Americans strengthen skills to compete in a global economy."
Yet, the real Republican track record on education is clear.  The President's budget request FREEZES funding for the Title II and Title VII programs that these bills would authorize; his 5-year budget calls for an 8 percent per student cut in real terms in higher education funding by fiscal year 2009 (from Appropriations Democrats' report "College Dreams Deferred or Denied); and the Washington Post reported yesterday that the President's 2006 budget could cut education by $1.5 billion or 2.6%.
In addtion, the GOP has underfunded the No Child Left Behind Act by $17.1 billion as of Fiscal Year 2004.  If the President's 2005 budget request was enacted, that gap would grow to $26.5 billion.

Democrats agree that an educated workforce is essential to a competitive workforce, and we are already on record in support of H.R. 4409, H.R. 4410 and H.R. 4411.  However, Democrats believe that the GOP has left out key components to creating an educated and competitive workforce, such as full funding of the No Child Left Behind Act and the reauthorization of important bills like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Democrats will continue to press for a positive agenda to create good jobs for American workers, including full funding of the No Child Left Behind Act, passage of a transportation bill, tax relief for domestic manufacturers, an increase in the minimum wage and an extension of federal unemployment benefits. 
The attached documents (in one bundled PDF) may be helpful in doing press on these issues next week:
  • Talking points on HOW
  • Fact sheet on HOW
  • House Budget Committee Democrats document on Fiscal Year 2006 budget cuts
Back to Work Incentive Act of 2003
The Back to Work Incentive Act   would establish a program to allow unemployed workers to receive up to $3,000 in a job training vouchers, termed “Personal Reemployment Accounts” (PRAs).  This bill fundamentally fails to respond to the needs of American workers and the needs of our economy as a whole.  This bill:
• Freezes workers out of job training opportunities
• Provides No New Resources for the PRA scheme
• Voucherizes workforce training system/Undermines critical accountability
• Fails to Extend Unemployment benefits to OVER 1.5 million workers who have exhausted their benefits
• Does Nothing To Create Jobs
• Demeans Workers by Implying they Need an Incentive to Work
Attached (in one bundled PDF) is a summary prepared by the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the Back to Work Incentive Act and the reasons why Democrats are urged to oppose it.