Barack Obama photo

Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 803 - Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act

March 13, 2013


(House Rules)

(Rep. Foxx, R-NC, and 23 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, as ordered reported by the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

This Nation should be doing everything it can to help people find a job or build their skills to advance in their careers or to seek a new one. Additionally, it is imperative that employers have the skilled workforce they need. The Administration is exploring opportunities to revisit how the Federal Government funds job training and employment services, including the possibility of reorganizing some existing programs that serve overlapping populations. The Administration already has advanced proposals in this area through its Budgets, including a universal displaced worker program to provide those who lose their jobs with a single set of core services.

However, any effort to streamline the current system must allow for sufficient funding to meet the needs of workers and job-seekers, as well as adhere to certain core principles. It must improve services; provide easy one-stop access to those services, including for vulnerable populations; reflect employer and regional economic needs; enhance accountability and transparency; and promote continuous innovation and improvement.

While H.R. 803 takes some positive steps, the bill does not adhere to the Administration's key principles for reform. The bill would eliminate, or allow the consolidation of, many targeted programs, without providing the critical assistance needed by vulnerable populations such as veterans, low-income adults, youth, adults with literacy and English language needs, people with disabilities, ex-offenders, and others with significant barriers to employment. H.R. 803 would freeze funding for the next seven years and would fail to support efforts to innovate and replicate effective approaches.

It is important to make sure that policies improve, rather than hinder, job access. The Administration remains committed to working with the Congress on bipartisan legislation to improve the Nation's workforce investment system.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 803 - Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project