Committee GOP Majority Rejects Efforts to Address Outsourcing, Job Creation, Mine Safety and Child Abuse Before Congress Ends
WASHINGTON – At a debate and vote today on the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s quarterly activities report, the committee’s majority rejected requests from Democrats to work on a number of serious challenges facing the country in what remains of this Congress. Committees are required by House rules to review and report on its activities every six months, which often includes a list of upcoming legislative priorities.
Democrats offered amendments to the report that would commit the panel to take certain actions before the Congress ends. These actions include discouraging the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, reporting legislation to save or create education jobs, advancing long-awaited mine safety legislation, and conducting needed oversight over child abuse reporting laws. All of these requests for action were rejected by the Republican majority.
Committee Democrats also expressed disappointment in the majority’s failure to move job creation proposals, fix the nation’s education law, improve federal workforce training programs, and make promised reforms to protect miners’ health and safety.
“A year and a half into the Republican majority, not a single piece of legislation to move this country forward in these key areas has become law because the majority has chosen partisanship over consensus,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the committee. “These are all missed opportunities. And Congress has paid the price in its approval ratings which hover in the teens. But low approval ratings do not compare to the damage this sort of politics inflicts on the American people and our economy.”
For example, Miller emphasized that if committee Republicans chose to work with Democratic members, the No Child Left Behind Law would likely be in the history books, and the Workforce Investment Act would be more streamlined and effective.
“Entrenched ideological positions will not improve the lives of the American middle class who simply want their kids to go to good schools and to have stable jobs with decent wages. Sadly for those families, nothing has nor will get done on the most important business of the day when the majority chooses to go it alone, even when consensus is achievable,” said Miller.
Democrats offered four amendments to commit the panel to addressing several critical national issues before this Congress ends. All of the amendments were rejected:
- Before the end of this Congress, the committee will consider and report legislation to improve safety and whistleblower protections for miners and increase accountability for dangerous mine operators. Rep. Miller offered this amendment. Republicans voted unanimously against this amendment. (Final vote: 16-22)
- The committee will conduct robust oversight into the handling of reports of child sexual and physical abuse by elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, and convene the full committee to explore legislative solutions to deficiencies in our nation’s existing child abuse reporting laws before the end of this Congress. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) offered this amendment. Republicans voted to block this amendment. (Final vote: 18-19)
- Before the end of this Congress, given that over 250,000 educators have been laid off from their jobs over the last three years, the committee will consider and report legislation to prevent future layoffs of teachers and other school employees and to reemploy those who have been laid off. Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) offered this amendment. Republicans voted unanimously against this amendment. (Final vote: 16-22)
- The committee will work to strengthen and protect our domestic workforce by discouraging the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign nations. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) offered this amendment. Republicans voted unanimously against this amendment. (Final vote: 16-22)