Issue: H.R. 803 (Originally the “Skills Act”). On passage, as amended in Senate with new title: Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act. An act to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to strengthen the United States workforce development system through innovation in, and alignment and improvement of, employment, training, and education programs in the United States, and to promote individual and national economic growth, and for other purposes.
Result: Agreed to in Senate 95 to 3, 2 not voting. Became Public Law 113-128 (signed by the president 7-22-14). GOP and Democrats scored.
Bill History: The House approved H.R. 803 in early 2013 as the Skills Act (“Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act”). After more than a year of “negotiation,” the Senate amended and retitled the measure, approving it by an overwhelming bipartisan majority (see above) and passed it back to the House. Two weeks later, the House accepted the Senate changes (see House Roll Call 378, 7-9-14) by an equally overwhelming bipartisan majority of 415 to 6, 11 not voting. After a scant two more weeks, President Obama signed the measure into law.
Bill Summary: The Act consists of five titles: TITLE I—WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES; TITLE II—ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY; TITLE III—AMENDMENTS TO THE WAGNER-PEYSER ACT; TITLE IV—AMENDMENTS TO THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973; and TITLE V—GENERAL PROVISIONS. The Act authorizes or reauthorizes appropriations for the described functions and programs.
Analysis: This measure purports to fix a broken 1998 federal unconstitutional intervention in the marketplace, purportedly designed to help people become employable and also help the private sector find qualified workers. However, proponents of the “fix” misrepresent the source of America’s unemployment and production problems.
The 19th Century French statesman Frederic Bastiat wrote that governments sought to increase their power by “creating the poison and the antidote in the same laboratory” — that is, by using government resources to exacerbate problems, which can then be used to justify statist “solutions.”
Similarly, America’s economic problems can be laid at the door of a massive unconstitutional federal bureaucracy and federal actions. For decades Establishment Insiders dominating both major parties have sought to export heavy industry and manufacturing overseas (e.g, build up Communist China), tie up America’s domestic resources, starve our nation of energy, and undermine competiveness thru heavy regulatory costs.
And the proposed solution — federal programs to retrain unemployed workers to meet the needs of the private sector — is a clear overreach of federal responsibility. Politicians of both parties, including President Obama, have criticized the 1998 system as ineffective. But the system doesn’t need fixing — the problem is a federal government trying to manage something it has no business doing. Get the government out!
This 298-page bill is an incredible example of the bureaucracy and unconstitutional federal meddling that have become commonplace in Washington. Remember that only 3 senators and 6 representatives opposed this measure. “Liberal” Senators Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer supported it, as did Liberal Representatives John Conyers and George Miller.
Here are excerpts from Title I and Title II that illustrate the problem:
“TITLE I—WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
Subtitle C—Job Corps SEC. 141. PURPOSES.
The purposes of this subtitle are—
(1) to maintain a national Job Corps program, carried out in partnership with States and communities, to—
(A) assist eligible youth to connect to the labor force by providing them with intensive social, academic, career and technical education, and service-learning opportunities, in primarily residential centers, in order for such youth to obtain secondary school diplomas or recognized postsecondary credentials leading to—
(i) successful careers, in in-demand industry sectors or occupations or the Armed Forces, that will result in economic self-sufficiency and opportunities for advancement; or ….
SEC. 143. ESTABLISHMENT.
There shall be within the Department of Labor a ‘‘Job Corps’’.
SEC. 144. INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE FOR THE JOB CORPS.
(a) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to become an enrollee, an individual shall be—
(1) not less than age 16 and not more than age 21 on the date of enrollment, except that—
(A) not more than 20 percent of the individuals enrolled in the Job Corps may be not less than age 22 and not more than age 24 on the date of enrollment; and
(B) either such maximum age limitation may be waived by the Secretary, in accordance with regulations of the Secretary, in the case of an individual with a disability; (2) a low-income individual; and
(3) an individual who is one or more of the following:
(A) Basic skills deficient.
(B) A school dropout.
(C) A homeless individual (as defined in section 41403(6) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14043e–2(6))), a homeless child or youth (as defined in section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(2))), a runaway, an individual in foster care, or an individual who was in foster care and has aged out of the foster care system.
(D) A parent.
(E) An individual who requires additional education, career and technical education or training, or workforce preparation skills to be able to obtain and retain employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency.
SEC. 145. RECRUITMENT, SCREENING, SELECTION, AND ASSIGNMENT OF ENROLLEES.
(a) STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall prescribe specific standards and procedures for the recruitment, screening, and selection of eligible applicants for the Job Corps, after considering recommendations from Governors of States, local boards, and other interested parties.
(2) METHODS.—In prescribing standards and procedures under paragraph (1), the Secretary, at a minimum, shall—
(A) prescribe procedures for informing enrollees that drug tests will be administered to the enrollees and the results received within 45 days after the enrollees enroll in the Job Corps;
(B) establish standards for recruitment of Job Corps applicants;
(C) establish standards and procedures for—
(i) determining, for each applicant, whether the educational and career and technical education and training needs of the applicant can best be met through the Job Corps program or an alternative program in the community in which the applicant resides; and (ii) obtaining from each applicant pertinent data relating to background, needs, and interests for determining eligibility and potential assignment;
(D) where appropriate, take measures to improve the professional capability of the individuals conducting screening of the applicants; and
(E) assure appropriate representation of enrollees from urban areas and from rural areas.
(3) IMPLEMENTATION.—The standards and procedures shall be implemented through arrangements with— (A) applicable one-stop centers;
(B) organizations that have a demonstrated record of effectiveness in serving at-risk youth and placing such youth into employment, including community action agencies, business organizations, or labor organizations; and
(C) child welfare agencies that are responsible for children and youth eligible for benefits and services under section 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677)….
SEC. 147. JOB CORPS CENTERS.
(a) OPERATORS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS.— (1) ELIGIBLE ENTITIES.—
(A) OPERATORS.—The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with a Federal, State, or local agency, an area career and technical education school, a residential career and technical education school, or a private organization, for the operation of each Job Corps center.”
“TITLE II—ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY
SEC. 201. SHORT TITLE.
This title may be cited as the ‘‘Adult Education and Family Literacy Act’’.
SEC. 202. PURPOSE.
It is the purpose of this title to create a partnership among the Federal Government, States, and localities to provide, on a voluntary basis, adult education and literacy activities, in order to—
(1) assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self- sufficiency;
(2) assist adults who are parents or family members to obtain the education and skills that—
(A) are necessary to becoming full partners in the educational development of their children; and
(B) lead to sustainable improvements in the economic opportunities for their family;”
Is this how the United States became the most productive and prosperous nation on earth?
In reading the role mapped out for the federal government in this complex bill, one cannot help being reminded of the agenda outlined in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto for building an all-powerful State. This State, if you are really gullible, would be created by and controlled by the people for their own benefit:
“The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State … and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.”
In support of this objective, the tenth plank of the Manifesto calls for “Free education for all children in public schools” and “Combination of education with industrial production, etc.”
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)