SKILLS Act Passes House Committee & 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.