The assignment was eagerly accepted as Chairman John Kline (R-MN-02) proudly issued a press release on December 8, 2010 :
“Job creation and American competitiveness are vital national priorities. As Chairman, I will ensure they are at the forefront of the Education and Labor Committee agenda. I am humbled by the decision of my colleagues to allow me to lead this panel, and I am eager to move forward with an agenda that fulfills our pledge to create a smaller, more accountable federal government. We must ensure federal red tape does not become the enemy of innovation, and that federal mandates do not become roadblocks on the path to reform.”
To assist Chairman Kline in accomplishing these goals, the House Education and Workforce Committee has been authorized a budget of $16,158,348 (and that’s just the Committee staff … that does not include each Member or his/her staff)
The accomplishments have been hard to find … such that the GOP (or as it advertises itself – Great Opportunity Party) Platform includes two interesting segments that one must wonder, WHY hasn’t Chairman Kline addressed them.
It is critical that the United States has a highly trained and skilled workforce. Nine federal agencies currently run 47 retraining programs at a total cost of $18 billion annually with dismal results. Both the trainees in those programs and the taxpayers who fund them deserve better. We propose consolidation of those programs into State block grants so that training can be coordinated with local schools and employers. That will be critically important if States establish Personal Reemployment Accounts, letting trainees direct resources in ways that will steer them toward long-term employment, especially through on-the- job training with participating employers.
Hamm … haven’t we heard this before ?
Oh, yeah, we have … remember Chairman Kline’s press release of January 13, 2012, responding to President Obama proposed consolidating a number of overlapping federal agencies:
“A maze of bureaucracy often undermines important services workers, educators, and employers need. The Government Accountability Office has identified roughly 47 separate job training programs spread across nine federal agencies …. Clearly, there’s room to simplify our government, and that’s why the House Education and the Workforce Committee has made education and job training reform central parts of our legislative agenda. … this year the committee will advance sensible reforms that streamline the nation’s job training programs.”
And to that end, Chairman Kline’s solution is H.R. 4297 – The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 which he described in a June press release :
“The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 will help the nation close the skills gap, streamline federal workforce development services, and eliminate arbitrary roadblocks that prevent workers from learning the skills employers need. The fiscally responsible reforms included in our proposal are long overdue and urgently needed. I call on my colleagues to join our efforts to move this proposal swiftly through the legislative process and to the president’s desk.”
Chairman Kline after a year and half of dawdling, finally crafted a bill … sadly, HR 4297 is waiting for the Republican-controlled House to vote on his proposal … so the Great Opportunity Party must put it in its platform for the Next Congress rather than putting in its slot of accomplishments … a great example of the Republican-controlled DoNothing House … failing to advance something that the President wanted and Chairman Kline advocated swift passage — but instead it becomes a political ploy for the November elections.
We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking “card check,” enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative.
We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects.
We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty.
Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty.
We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker. We salute the Republican Governors and State legislators who have saved their States from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions. We urge elected officials across the country to follow their lead in order to avoid State and local defaults on their obligations and the collapse of services to the public. To safeguard the free choice of public employees, no government at any level should act as the dues collector for unions. A Republican President will protect the rights of conscience of public employees by proposing legislation to bar mandatory dues for political purposes.
OK, so the Great Opportunity Party has highlighted a couple of bills that they will enact.
H.R. 2040 is the National Right-to-Work Act. It was authored by Steve King (R-IA-05) on and currently has 92 co-sponsors. The legislation was assigned to Chairman Kline’s Education and Workforce Committee on May 26, 2011 … and has not held any hearings or advanced the legislation.
H.R. 4385 is the RAISE (Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees) Act. It was authored by Todd Rokita (R-IN-4) and currently has 92 co-sponsors. The legislation was assigned to Chairman Kline’s Education and Workforce Committee on April 18, 2012 … and has not held any hearings or advanced the legislation.
Because of Chairman Kline’s inaction, the Great Opportunity Party must put it in its platform for the Next Congress rather than putting in its slot of accomplishments.
Voters can weigh-in on the whether they agree with the Great Opportunity Party platform, but the message is clear … Republicans want these enacted … just because Chairman Kline and the DoNothing Republican-controlled House has failed to address them, does not mean that they will not push their agenda.
Chairman Kline has dawdled this term … failing to reform the No Child Left Behind education program … but a Romney/Ryan team will no doubt give Chairman Kline another chance … with definitive marching orders.