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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

SKILLS Act Passes House Committee and Democrats Walk Out

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March 7, 2013

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SKILLS Act Passes House Committee and Democrats Walk Out

During a markup on March 6, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted to pass the Strengthening Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill. The markup sparked some heated comments from the committee Democrats on the partisan nature of the SKILLS Act and the proceedings surrounding the Act.

Democrats on the committee believe that the SKILLS Act is moving too quickly through the legislative process to allow for debate and negotiations between committee members. Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairman Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) expressed his disappointment with the partisan nature of the WIA reauthorization effort during his opening statement. Later during the markup, Rep. Hinojosa reiterated his disappointment and asked his fellow committee Democrats to boycott the proceedings by walking out of the markup with him.

Following the walk out of the committee Democrats, the markup continued forward with the amendment process. Three amendments were offered and subsequently adopted for the SKILLS Act:

In the end, the remaining Republican members of the committee voted to pass the SKILLS Act out of the committee and send it to the House floor for consideration. The final vote was 23 – 0 with 18 Democrats not present to vote.

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