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House Marks up Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization

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June 8, 2012

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House Marks up Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization

The House Education and Workforce Committee met yesterday to mark up the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297). Introduced by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the bill would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act.

Causing controversy between the Republicans and Democrats on the committee was the fact that Rep. Foxx’s bill consolidates 27 programs into a single workforce investment fund.  By consolidating the programs and allowing state and local workforce investment boards more flexibility on how to spend the money, Rep. Foxx stated that the job training system will be less bureaucratic and more effective.

On the other side of the Committee, Democrats were concerned that, by consolidating the programs, some groups of people, including low-income, low-skilled, and underrepresented groups, will be left out of or underserved by the job training system. Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) was also concerned that consolidation of the programs would eventually lead to the elimination of the workforce investment system.

While the original version of Ms. Foxx’s bill allowed Perkins funding to be consolidated into the workforce investment fund, ACTE was able to successfully remove it from the list of allowable programs and it remains protected after the Committee markup. 

After eight hours of amendments and votes, the bill was passed on a party-line vote with 23 Republicans voting yes and 15 Democrats voting no. Reps. Fudge (D-OH) and Kucinich (D-OH) did not vote, but Rep. Fudge was in attendance.

To watch the video of the markup and to read Republican amendments offered to the bill, check out the Committee’s website. Democrat amendments are posted on their own website, but will soon be included on the main committee site.

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