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Today, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) voted 18-3 to advance legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Senators Burr (R-NC), Roberts (R-KS), and Scott (R-SC) voted no, with Senator Paul (R-KY) not voting.
During the committee markup, lead bill sponsors Senators Murray (D-WA) and Isakson (R-GA) offered a manager’s amendment that served as a substitute for the underlying bill. The text of the manager’s amendment has not yet been made publicly available. Once text is available, National Skills Coalition will provide an analysis of key provisions of the bill.
The mark-up moved very quickly—taking less than 30 minutes from start to finish—with no debate. The committee voted on just one amendment—a Job Corps amendment offered by Senators Casey (D-PA) and Hatch (R-UT). That amendment was accepted on a voice vote. However, several other Senators offered and subsequently withdrew amendments with the express intention of offering those amendments when the bill reaches the Senate floor. Notably, Senator Casey offered and withdrew the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, which would provide federal grants to states for the creation of industry-led partnerships. National Skills Coalition strongly supports the SECTORS Act (S. 1226), which was introduced earlier this year by Senators Brown (D-OH) and Collins (R-ME).
The next step would be for the bill to move to the Senate floor, but it is unclear when or if the full Senate will take up the measure. Next week Congress kicks off a 5-week in-district work period, and when policymakers return in September their focus will likely be on fiscal issues such as federal spending for 2014, sequestration and the debt ceiling.