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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004-Continued

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise to enter into a colloquy with the distinguished chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education. I came to the floor today to offer an amendment to increase dislocated worker formula funds in order to create new job training opportunities for dislocated workers.

Given the continued job losses nationwide, increasing funds to retrain workers is critical—both for workers and for the businesses that are hiring workers. Our national unemployment rate is now 6.1 percent, which is close to the highest it has been in 9 years. Since the recession started in January 2001, we have lost more than three million private sector jobs, and these job losses continue. In my State, Boeing announced over 600 layoffs in July. In August, it announced over 500 more.
And it has plans to cut a total of 5,000 jobs nationally by the end of the year. These funds are clearly needed to get Americans back to work.

I am pleased that my colleagues and I have reached an agreement to include an additional $25 million in this bill for the Dislocated Worker formula funds. Clearly, I would have liked to secure additional funding, but recognize that the bill includes many worthy priorities and that funds are extremely tight. I look forward to working with the chairman and ranking member to secure this funding increase in the final version of the bill.

Mr. SPECTER. I thank the Senator from Washington for her comments. And I think she makes a good point about the important role the Senate can play in supporting the retraining of dislocated workers. The Senator is correct that we have agreed to include an additional $25 million for the Dislocated Worker funding stream in the managers' amendment. I will fight to keep this funding in the conference committee bill.

Mr. HARKIN. I agree with the Senator from Washington that there is a great need for additional funds for dislocated workers, I will work with my colleagues to retain this increase of $25 million for dislocated worker formula funds in the conference committee bill.

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