WASHINGTON — Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending March 15.
STREAMLINED EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS:
Voting 215 for and 202 against, the House on March 15 sent the Senate a Republican bill (HR 803) to consolidate 35 federal programs for job training, adult education and literacy education into a single, broad-based workforce program to be administered by the states as they see fit rather than by Washington.
The bill is a five-year renewal of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to be funded at $6 billion annually through block grants controlled by governors.
The WIA historically has used targeted grants to fund the vocational needs of specific populations. Under this bill, groups such as dislocated workers in search of new skills, the disabled, returning veterans, the poor and migrant workers would compete against one another for available funds.
Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said the bill "is not restrictive to any group, be it gender or race, but is for all Americans. This bill will allow people to find gainful employment in the marketplace. This is what America is in dire need of right now...."
George Miller, D-Calif., said the bill was being rushed "to meet the deadline set by the majority leader (Eric Cantor) as part of a rebranding strategy. This bill is a political product that puts ideology over the practical solutions of evidence-based reforms...."
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Voting yes: John Kline, R-2, Erik Paulsen, R-3, Michele Bachmann, R-6
Voting no: Tim Walz, D-1, Betty McCollum, D-4, Keith Ellison, D-5, Collin Peterson, D-7, Rick
Voting 184 for and 233 against, members defeated a bid by Democrats to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour as part of a GOP workplace bill (HR 803, above). This would be the first increase since 2009.