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Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Look, we were admonished a minute ago in the well of the House about the shame of things, and I think we can all accept admonition that we, as a Congress, need to do better. But part of doing better, part of creating a bipartisan bill, is showing up to do the work. So when the minority chooses to walk out of a proceeding, while that's their prerogative, it doesn't create the environment for bipartisanship. Enough said.

We're also told that there's shame and disappointment in not working, and I would assume that that shame and disappointment goes back to the previous majority, Mr. Chairman, who failed to do this work. Now, that's living in the rearview mirror, and enough of that.

So the question is: How do we move forward? How do we take bipartisan or, actually, more importantly, nonpartisan advice from the Government Accounting Office which has looked at the status quo and made a couple of points? They've said the status quo is a failure. The status quo isn't syncing up job creation opportunities, that is, job training, with where the actual jobs are. Or said another way, we've got a status quo that's good for job trainers, but it's not good for the people that we all claim to speak for, that is, those who are unemployed and need a skill.

So we were also told a minute ago that, and I think the word was, a majority of those who were involved somehow are opposed to the GOP plan. I'm getting data that shows that there's dozens of groups--and I'm sure it's on the Ed and Workforce Web site--that are supporting this.

So here's the question: Do we listen to the GAO? Do we say we're not going to defend the status quo, we're not going to bulk up with more bureaucracy, but, instead, at a time when everybody recognized that resources are limited, we're going to consolidate, be smart, be clever about how we're doing things in order to get this done?

And I think the failure, with all due respect, of the Democratic substitute is that it creates six new programs as opposed to consolidating and putting all of these savings, I might add, back into the very job training program that we're all trying to defend.

So I accept admonition where admonition is due, but I think we're a little bit reluctant to say there's not a bipartisan opportunity when part of being bipartisan is making sure that we show up for that opportunity.

With that, I urge a ``no'' vote on the substitute and a ``yes'' vote on the underlying bill.


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