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Legislative Update: Debt Ceiling, WIA Markup Delayed, Bills Introduced

Leaders in Washington continue to struggle as the August 2nd deadline for lifting the federal debt ceiling approaches (See “Debt Limit Deal” in last week’s update). At President Obama’s request, the Senate recess scheduled for next week has been cancelled to continue work on the debt ceiling.

Obama held a press conference this week to reaffirm that revenues must be included in any deficit reduction plan. Republicans and Democrats remain at an impasse over the inclusion of revenues in the package, but Obama stated that both parties had already identified more than $1 trillion in spending cuts. In his speech, the President referred to his support of a manufacturing initiative that would enable 500,000 workers to receive skills and training to fill manufacturing job vacancies. He also said that education will continue to be funded.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, released a statement yesterday strongly opposing cuts to areas of non-defense discretionary spending, such as education. Sen. Inouye wrote “The focus of our deficit talks should not be on domestic discretionary spending, but on the real reason why we are not running a surplus: historically low revenues, soaring mandatory spending, and the cost of war.”

In other news, the Senate was scheduled to markup the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) this week but the markup has been pushed back to mid-July.

Bills Introduced:

Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Act

Sen. Blumenthal (CT) introduced S. 1237, the Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Act, that would make it easier for manufacturers to invest new capital into equipment, facilities, and job training to enable them to grow and create more jobs. This bill supports President Obama’s recent initiative to increase job training in the manufacturing sector.

Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act

Rep. Polis (CO) introduced H.R. 2315, the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act. The bill would help recruit, train and place more women into high tech and advanced manufacturing fields. Currently, women account for only one-quarter of the workforce in these areas.

Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs (RAISE UP) Act

Sen. Stabenow (MI) introduced S. 1279, the Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs Act (RAISE UP). The bill would coordinate existing programs to improve services to youth who have dropped out of high school. Students would be put on track to attain a high school diploma, postsecondary credential, and career that provides a family-sustaining wage.

America Recruits Act

Sen. Warner (VA) introduced S. 1247, the America Recruits Act, that would develop and recruit new, high-value jobs to the United States and encourage off-shore jobs to be brought back and filled by American workers.

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