CHN: Senate HELP Committee Approves Workforce Training Bill
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted unanimously to report S. 1021, a bill reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. The bill differs from the controversial version passed out of the House of Representatives, H.R. 27, in two key ways. First, the Senate bill does not include language consolidating adult, dislocated workers, and employment services funding into one $3 billion block grant. The bill is said to allow greater flexibility in using funds, but closes off the possibility of such a block grant. The Senate legislation also differs in that it does not contain a provision in the House bill allowing religious organizations receiving funds to consider religion when making hiring decisions.
Not everyone is united behind S. 1021 in its current form. Secretary of Labor Chao wrote a letter to HELP Committee Chairman Enzi (R-WY) indicating that the Administration would seek to include the hiring and consolidation provisions on the floor of the Senate.