July 9, 2014
“Today is a good day for the American people. We’ve shown what’s possible when we work together toward a common goal and right now there is no greater goal than putting Americans back to work. This bipartisan, bicameral agreement will fix a broken job training system, help workers fill in-demand jobs, and protect taxpayers. I am proud to have helped lead this effort and want to thank my Republican and Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate for their hard work. Let’s build off today’s achievement and continue working together on behalf of the American people.”
— Representative John Kline, Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee reacting to a 415-6 vote to approve H.R. 803 The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
The SKILLS Act was one of John Kline’s legislative accomplishments earning praise from Speaker John Boehner (and even the subject of an Erik Paulsen Correspondence Corner).
That 2014 legislation featured a number of job-skills programs including the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service Grants, and were specifically authorized appropriation levels for each of the fiscal years 2015-2020.
As we know, John Kline is now enjoying his retirement and has been replaced by Jason Lewis in Congress and on the Education and Workforce Committee … Boehner has been ousted and replaced by Paul Ryan while the White House budget requests are being submitted by the Donald Trump Administration.
Like a lot of things with this new Trump Congress/Administration, things are not getting done … including the budget.
The Congressional Budget Act outlines the process and sets deadlines … April 15th, Congress completes action on the concurrent resolution on the budget and by June 30th, the House completes action on annual appropriation bills … so it can go on August recess.
OK … so they have not voted on a FY2018 budget resolution but they are on August recess.
And one of the items on the agenda once they return will be whether to raise the national debt ceiling and authorizing appropriations bills to allow the government to spend monies … establishing a budget before appropriating the funds is well, so old fashioned..
The Appropriation bill for the Department of Labor is awaiting final vote … it was approved by the Appropriations Committee by a vote of 28-22 before they went on recess. (Oh, funny thing, there are 22 Democrats on the Committee so let’s the reader guess how many voted for this level of funding.)
And what funding level does the Appropriations Committee provide for the Department of Labor — ya know the one that is responsible for the “job training system” so as to “help workers fill in-demand jobs” — $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
Yeah, a cut in funding ! And while some areas are getting more money … like an additional $2.5 million for Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) and $2.5 million increase to expand the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. (Expect those programs to be highlighted in future “franked mail” from your elected representatives telling voters that they supported vets!)
What will most likely not be promoted are the program cuts …
Employment Training Administration (ETA) will get a decrease of $1.5 billion below last year’s enacted level and cutting $91 million for the Dislocated Workers National Reserve … and a total elimination of the Wagner-Peyser Employment Services grants ($671 million).
These Employment Service Grants will have devastating impacts on local, state and national one-stop centers which provide services to the nearly 13 million individuals that use these programs.
Gosh, this has got to hurt the Kline legacy … remember his re-election campaign message — “I am working with both parties to get things done for Minnesota families”
My bipartisan legislation will help train unemployed workers for new job opportunities. pic.twitter.com/N35vR0zVw6
— John Kline (@Kline4Congress) October 14, 2014
Hey, maybe the House Republicans are correct … maybe they have bought into the Trump vision … America must be tired of “winning” … and all the jobs being created such that the government does not need job training programs … apparently, there are no more workers who have been downsized from their jobs (dislocated workers), nor low-income adults struggling to gain living wage employment and opportunity.
Funny thing is that when candidate Lewis was seeking to replace John Kline, he seemed to be able to blame the Obama Administration for lack of jobs … focusing in on one report in particular :
From Jason Lewis (January 2016) :
“Despite what the President contends, our State of the Union is not good. Just a few days ago the BLS (Dept. of Labor) released the December civilian labor force participation rate. As you can see from the graph, only 62.6% of the civilian labor force is working–a statistic not seen since the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years.”
Hmmm … according to the latest BLS report , the civilian labor force for July 2017 is 62.9%.
Yeah, this is “winning” … and the Republicans won in 2016 … and American workers will be paying in 2017 as it becomes readily apparent, Trump voters got truly suckered.
Of course, this could change … if the full House rejects the funding suggestion … maybe someone could ask Jason Lewis how he feels about cutting job training programs at his next town hall meeting.