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Posts Tagged ‘debt talks’

Legislative Update: Debt Talks Continue, Labor-HHS-ED Markup Postponed, ESEA at Standstill, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Debt Talks Continue

Even moreso than in the past weeks, the focus of Congress this week has been on reaching a debt limit deal. News reports earlier this week falsely stated that President Obama and Speaker Boehner had reached a $3 trillion deal, which both have since denied.

If Congress fails to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling by August 2nd, Americans may face, among other things, higher interest rates, decreases in the value of the dollar, and unstable financial markets. Key Members of Congress and the President plan to continue talks through the weekend.

The Senate voted down Republicans’ “Cut, Cap and Balance” measure this morning which proposed a plan to cut spending by $111 billion in 2012, cap spending over the next decade, and forbid borrowing until Congress reached an agreement on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

House Labor-HHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee Markup Postponed

The House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED), the subcommittee responsible for appropriating funds to discretionary programs such as CTE, has pushed back its markup from July 26th until further notice. Due to the House schedule, this means that the earliest the markup for the FY 2012 Labor-HHS-Ed bill will occur is on September 7th.

ESEA at Standstill

Three bills passed by the House to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – on repeals, charter school expansion and innovation, and funding flexibility – have seen little movement in the past weeks. Senate markup will occur after August recess at the earliest.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has not given any additional information on the details of the ESEA waivers that would allow states to bypass aspects of the current law. Duncan stated last month that he planned to grant waivers to states if Congress does not reauthorize ESEA before the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Bills Introduced:

National Youth Summer Jobs Act

Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH) introduced H.R. 2539, the National Youth Summer Jobs Act of 2011, that would award competitive grants to entities for the creation of job placement summer programs for out-of-school youth. Programs would be targeted toward basic-skills deficient and unemployed or underemployed young people. The goal of the bill is to increase GED attainment and job placement for participants.

Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act

Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) introduced H.R. 2537, the Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act, to provide grants for job training, public work and economic development programs in cities with high unemployment rates.

21st Century Readiness Act

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) introduced H.R. 2536, the 21st Century Readiness Act, to help students acquire 21st Century Skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communicating, collaborating, and creativity. The bill aims to fuse higher-order thinking skills with core academic knowledge to create content knowledge attainment in real-world contexts. The bill is being offered as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Public Private Vocational Partnership Act

Rep. Don Young (AK) introduced H.R. 2549, the Public Private Vocational Partnership Act, an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The build would allow a business credit for donations for vocational educational purposes.

Jobs Now Act

Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL) introduced H.R. 2574, the Jobs Now Act, to amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The bill would create a pilot program that would award grants to local government and community organizations to retain, employ, and train jobs. Funds used to provide training for veterans, individuals with disabilities, unemployed individuals, and dislocated workers would receive priority.

Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act

Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ) introduced H.R. 2611, the Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act, a bill that would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to prepare individuals with barriers to employment to enter the workforce by receiving job training, education and support services. The bill would grant resources to nonprofit organizations and institutions serving underrepresented minorities to increase skills training, job placement, and on-the-job training.

By Kara in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Committee Passes ESEA Flexibility Bill; WIA Markup Rescheduled; Debt Talks Continue; All Children Are Equal Act; and Veterans Opportunity to Work Act

Friday, July 15th, 2011

House Committee Passes 3rd ESEA Bill

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved this week the third in a series of five bills designed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The third bill, the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act, passed the Committee despite strong opposition from Democrats and accusations of civil rights violation. Read more.

Workforce Investment Act

The Senate showed an effort to move forward with reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) last month when they released a discussion draft for comment. However, markup of the bill continues to be pushed back and is now scheduled to occur on August 3rd.

Debt Talks

With only two weeks left to take action, Congress still struggles to compromise on the debt ceiling. Republican House leaders will vote next week on a plan that would increase the debt ceiling if Democrats agree to $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, in addition to passing a balanced budget amendment.

Obama disagrees with the Republican House plan, saying that “I have not seen a credible plan that would allow you to get to $2.4 trillion without really hurting ordinary folks.” The President continues to urge Congress to create a plan before a default occurs in early August.

Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) and Senator Harry Reid (NV) are working together to outline a plan that would give President Obama authority over the debt ceiling but would also demand its incremental increase.

Bills Introduced:

All Children Are Equal Act (ACE)

Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA) introduced H.R. 2485, the All Children Are Equal Act, to increase Title I funding through ESEA for rural districts with high numbers of low-income families. Currently, Title I funds are distributed through a complicated formula based on the size and concentration of poverty in a district. The formula often results in large, urban districts receiving much larger shares of funding than poor, rural districts. Thompson’s bill would place less weight on population to increase the formula’s focus on student poverty. The bill aims to provide more equitable distribution of funds for disadvantaged students in rural areas.

Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011

Rep. Jeff Miller (FL) introduced H.R. 2433, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, a bill to provide retraining assistance for veterans through community college or technical schools. The bill would require attendees to participate in a full-time program leading to an associates degree or certificate and a job in a high-demand field.

By Kara in Public Policy
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