Today, Congressman Joe Donnelly led a bipartisan effort to bring The AMERICA Works Act to the House floor for a vote. Donnelly and colleagues from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer asking that AMERICA Works be one of the first bills considered in a post-election session of Congress.
"Putting Hoosiers and other Americans back to work is my top priority," said Donnelly. "We need to address the "skills gap' in our nation's manufacturing industry so that our manufacturers have the workers they need to compete in a global economy. AMERICA Works would better connect skilled workers to the employers who need them, without increasing federal spending. I am hopeful House leadership will bring this bipartisan bill to the House floor for a vote."
The AMERICA Works Act has a history of bipartisan support. This legislation passed the House of Representatives in the 111th Congress by a vote of 412-10 but was not considered by the Senate. Donnelly reintroduced the legislation in March 2011.
The full text of the letter sent to Boehner, Cantor, Pelosi, and Hoyer is below.
Dear Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader Cantor, and Minority Whip Hoyer:
With tens of millions of Americans looking for work and unable to find it, we are all well aware of the importance of Congress enacting legislation that encourages job creation. Our respective political beliefs may frequently lead us to different views about the policies that Congress should enact in order to increase employment, but in this case, we all have expressed our support for a piece of legislation that would increase employment in our domestic manufacturing industry. We support HR 1325, The AMERICA Works Act, which if enacted into law, would increase the efficiency and efficacy of federal workforce training programs.
There is a well-publicized "skills gap" in the American manufacturing industry, with a Deloitte Consulting and Manufacturing Institute report estimating that as many as 600,000 jobs are going unfilled as a result of employers being unable to find workers with the skills required for available jobs. AMERICA Works would address this skills gap by directing federal training programs to place a priority on education and training that results in nationally portable and industry recognized credentials, so that workers can know they are learning skills demanded by industries and that employers can more easily identify needed talent. Enacting AMERICA Works into law is good for workers, industry, and the economy.
After the elections, Congress will return with important work needing to be completed. Much of this work will require members of both parties to find common solutions to some of our nation's most pressing issues. Because AMERICA Works is supported by both Republicans and Democrats and a broad group of businesses, trade associations, and educators, we believe it is the kind of legislation that should be among the first considered in a post-election session of Congress. HR 1325 does not increase federal spending, it makes federal spending more efficient; it does not create new federal programs, it makes the programs more effective; and as a result, encourages increased employment in well-paying, domestic manufacturing jobs. Passing AMERICA Works would send a clear message that Congress is serious about job creation and set the foundation for a productive and collaborative post-election session of Congress.
Congressman Joe Donnelly
Congressman Todd Russell Platts
Congressman Jason Altmire
Congressman Frank C. Guinta
Congressman André Carson
Congressman Steven C. LaTourette
Congressman Mark S. Critz
Congressman Donald A. Manzullo
Congresswoman Kathleen C. Hochul
Congressman Reid J. Ribble
Congressman Michael H. Michaud
Congressman Robert T. Schilling