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Legislative Update: Summer Jobs+, TANF Extended, Race to the Top

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Happy New Year! Congress is currently on recess. The House is scheduled to return on January 17, 2012 and the Senate will return on January 23, 2012.

Summer Jobs+ Aims to Increase Youth Employment

Yesterday President Obama unveiled Summer Jobs+, an initiative that brings together businesses, non-profits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. The President originally proposed investing in summer youth employment as part of the American Jobs Act which failed to pass Congress. As a result of Congressional inaction, the private sector has already pledged to create 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth this summer. The administration hopes that a total of 250,000 opportunities will be available this summer, at least 100,000 of which will be paid jobs and internships.

“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job. It’s important for their future, and for America’s.” said President Obama.

Payroll Tax Cut and TANF Extended for Two Months

Before recess the House and Senate passed a two-month extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The bill also extends Unemployment Insurance and the Medicare doc fix for two months.  The Senate has appointed conferees on the original House-passed payroll tax bill and House Minority Leader Pelosi appointed House Democratic conferees to work out a year-long extension.

Race to the Top Awards Announced

The U.S. Department of Education announced the seven winners of round three of the Race to the Top competition. The winning states – Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – will each receive a share the $200 million grant. This round focuses on comprehensive statewide reform, as well as improving STEM education. The seven winning applications include commitments to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, improve principal and teacher support and evaluation systems and implement school interventions in underperforming schools.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Research Hearing, Bills Introduced

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Congress Passes Temporary Spending Bill

The House and Senate passed a spending package that includes a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government through December 16, 2011. The bill also includes a “minibus” spending package of three appropriations bills – Agriculture, Transportation-HUD, and Commerce-Science-Justice – funded through the end of the fiscal year. House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (KY) has said that he intends package the remaining nine appropriations bills into a single omnibus bill, which would include the Labor-HHS-Education bill.

While the new CR does not restore the 1.5% cut to Perkins from the previous CR, we have learned from the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Education that if the final spending bill does not include language regarding reductions to advanced appropriations, then the 1.5% cut enacted in October will be restored to states.

Because the restoration of the 1.5% is not a done deal, we urge you call your Member of Congress today to make sure they are aware of the situation and they act to restore these funds to Perkins.

House Hearing on Education Research

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing to examine the federal role in education research. The purpose of the hearing – “Education Research: Identifying Effective Programs to Support Students and Teachers” – was to ensure that education research is beneficial to parents, teachers, and students. Some of the topics discussed by witnesses included: connecting data across learner levels, using education research in a way that benefits students, and creating incentives for teachers and schools that incorporate research-backed methods into their work.

Bills Introduced

Pathways Back to Work

On Monday, Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the Pathways Back to Work Act which would enact the portions of President Obama’s American Jobs Act that provide employment opportunities and skills training for the unemployed. The Pathways Back to Work Act focuses on three area:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

 

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Legislative Update: FY11 Appropriations

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Yesterday the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education held a markup of the $176.4 billion FY2011 appropriations bill and passed it by a party-line vote. The bill sets the total education funding level at $1.4 billion less than the Obama Administration’s request.

You can view the summary tables of appropriations for the Labor, Health and Education Departments here, but the full program funding levels will only be introduced if the bill is considered by the full appropriations committee. From what we can tell, Perkins was level funded in the House’s markup. The Workforce Investment Act state grants were increased for the first time in more than a decade, which will allow for training an additional 85,000 workers. Funding for summer youth employment opportunities was also increased by $250 million, which will provide employment for approximately 100,000 young adults, enabling them to gain valuable skills and workplace experience.

By Nancy in Legislation
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