6/23 Erik Paulsen Correspondence Corner : Not So Bold Support for Career and Technical Education

Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.

Today’s topic, H.R.2353 – Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
Tomorrow’s topic – H.R. 3030 – Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017

Now while Washington is buzzing about the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (aka the Senate version of the Paulsen-backed American Healthcare Reform Act), Congressman Paulsen ignores that issue to focus on CTE and genocide prevention.

Specifically, responding Donald from Edina who wrote encouraging Congressman Paulsen to support H.R.2353 – Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.

To no one’s surprise, Congressman Paulsen proudly announced that the House had just approved that legislation — failing to admit that it was approved via a voice vote.
[Typical Correspondence Corner in which Congressman Paulsen self-congratulations himself for a constituent’s request that has already been done and with no one objecting.]

Actually, this was pretty assured since in the previous session, a similar bill was approved by a vote of 405-5 with all five negative votes from Republicans.

The fact that it was a voice vote doesn’t mean that this isn’t the best bill possible … it just means that the Democrats realize that Republicans control the House, so it would be approved regardless of any objections. The most significant objection is that the legislation actually removes accountability checks that are currently in the existing law. The new bill gives the monies to the States thus allowing them to enroll students in low-quality programs and receive federal funding with no expectation that programs achieve performance results.
For a Math Guy to not recognize giving dollars ($5.9 Billion during the 2018-2022 period) without meeting expected achievements is fiscally irresponsible. So when you wonder why the Senate did not pass the bill last year, well, because of the failure to require the Secretary of Education to provide oversight to the funding.
Why didn’t the Math Guy object to this commonsense requirement ?

While Congressman Paulsen professes his support for Career and Technical Education, he does not mention the Trump Budget … and what it proposes to do to education.

The Trump Budget (aka A New Foundation For American Greatness) puts a big target on cutting Education and Workforce funding.

Simply put, the Trump budget proposes making significant cuts to a number of key programs that help low-income and other individuals obtain the skills necessary to compete in today’s workforce.

The Budget proposes eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers while roughly cutting in half Federal Work-Study (FWS) program. (The FWS program assists needy undergraduate and graduate students in financing postsecondary education costs through part-time employment.)

The Budget also proposes to decrease funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) job training and employment service formula programs by 39 percent.

Nowhere during Congressman Paulsen Correspondence Corner does he acknowledge the Trump proposals to cut roughly 15 % for career and technical education state grants under the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act — $168 million.

Congressman Paulsen presenting H.R. 2353 as a fait accompli is premature as the Senate will have to fix it and the funding is not assured … but it makes for a nice re-election campaign theme — that under President Trump and Congressman Paulsen, Congress has enacted real, meaningful reforms that will put people back to work.

So this week’s Correspondence Corner proves once again that Congressman Paulsen is more interested in projecting an image than really addressing the needs of his constituents.

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