Following Ways and Means Approval, Curbelo Bill to Help Americans Get Back to Work Heads to Full House Next Week

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Washington, D.C., June 15, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Today, the Committee on Ways and Means approved Representative Carlos Curbelo’s “Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act,” which he introduced with Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) last week. The bipartisan legislation is slated to be considered for passage by the entire U.S. House of Representatives next week.

H.R. 2842 would help connect Americans looking for work with employers looking to fill job openings, including through apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training. The legislation was approved with an amendment, offered by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Dave Reichert (R-WA), that requires at least one of the programs funded to be an apprenticeship program.

A full transcript of Curbelo’s opening remarks on his legislation can be found below. A video of the full remarks is available here.

U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo

Washington, D.C.

June 15, 2017

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “Thank you, Chairman Brady and thank you to Ranking Member Neal as well for together bringing this bill, the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act, before the Committee today.  And thank you, Congressman Davis, for being my partner on the legislation and for all of your work in this space.

“While we have had made some progress helping individuals and families lift themselves out of poverty, there are clear indications that we can do more.  The American people deserve opportunities that will help them improve their circumstances. The federal government spends more than half a trillion dollars each year on measures to combat poverty.  Despite this large investment, there are still over 43 million people living in poverty in our country. 

“The number of Americans who live in areas that have severely concentrated poverty has nearly doubled over the last decade to a historic high of 14 million.  In these areas, at least 40 percent of families live below the poverty line. Today, 13.5% of Americans live in poverty, but when the war on poverty began, this number was around 15%.

“We can do more to help American families.  Through innovative proposals, like the bills we are considering today, we can make a difference and improve the lives of individuals throughout the country. 

“Mr. Chairman, H.R. 2842, the Accelerating Individuals Into the Workforce Act, incentivizes employer partnerships with state and local agencies to hire recipients from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. This bill uses $100 million from the TANF Contingency Fund to create grants so states can conduct demonstration projects intended to assist low-income individuals in entering the workforce and maintaining employment.

“This bill also empowers local communities by giving them the ability to control how TANF dollars are spent.  Instead of an inflexible, Washington-designed program, this legislation is reflective of the fact that every community has unique challenges that present barriers to finding a job.

“The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized through this legislation to make grants to states.  These grants will be used to implement demonstration projects that will evaluate strategies to help low income individuals gain employment and, just as importantly, keep it. This legislation requires that states meet certain criteria to ensure that the programs are effective.  This includes a description of how local governments will coordinate these efforts with others that assist low-income individuals. 

“States will also be required to report on the outcomes of the demonstration projects and provide evaluations to determine whether the partnerships were effective.  The measured outcomes will include the efficacy of each project in moving people into the workforce, helping them retain employment, and increasing their earnings over time. Poverty is an issue that affects each our districts.  We need innovative solutions that can help get people on track to a brighter future.  This legislation is definitely a step in the right direction. 

“Mr. Chairman, work, a job is something that dignifies the human condition. It is everyone’s opportunity to make their contribution to society, to their community, and to our country. So, I encourage all of the Members of this Committee to vote in favor of H.R. 2842, the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act, to help people get on the path to success. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.” 

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