House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) today released the following joint statement commending the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee for approving H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act:
Education research is a vital tool for parents, teachers, and school leaders trying to build the best education possible for their students. It also informs policymakers and taxpayers about whether or not federal efforts are helping to raise student achievement. The Education Sciences Reform Act is long overdue for reform and we are pleased the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved a House proposal to update the law. The bill includes fiscally responsible reforms to streamline the research system, promote accountability, protect student privacy, and ensure unbiased education research. We commend Senators Harkin and Alexander for their leadership on this important issue and we hope the Senate approves the bill without delay.
To learn more about H.R. 4366, click here.
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House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe have asked National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard Griffin to provide documents and information concerning his effort to rewrite the joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.
In a letter to Griffin, they wrote:
Your office recently filed an amicus brief indicating the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should adopt a broader standard to determine joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). A month later, your office authorized complaints against McDonald’s USA, LLC and McDonald’s franchisees as joint-employers … It is our understanding such complaints are unprecedented.
To better understand the reason behind these actions, the committee is requesting the following information by September 30, 2014:
BACKGROUND: Since 1984, the NLRB has determined joint-employer status by analyzing whether the alleged employers share control over essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring, firing, and supervision. In recent months, the NLRB’s general counsel has engaged in an effort to discard this long held standard. At a committee oversight hearing held on September 9, small business owners and labor experts recently testified, this decision threatens to harm family businesses and destroy jobs. News reports highlight the havoc this unprecedented policy will wreak on employers and employees alike:
Business owners, both franchisers and franchisees, told the House Education and the Workforce Committee that the NLRB's move could undermine the franchising model, one of the main ways people get into business for themselves … "Individual entrepreneurs would be deprived of the opportunity to own their own businesses, franchisers would be denied the ability to expand their businesses, and millions of jobs would be lost" [said Catherine Monson, chief executive officer, FASTSIGNS International Inc.]. – Washington Examiner, Business owners: NLRB's McDonald's decision will ruin franchise model
"I am extremely alarmed by the radical decision of the NLRB's general counsel to attempt to create joint employer status for franchisors” … [Jagruti] Panwala [hotel franchisee] said … This may establish a dangerous precedent that could ultimately eliminate one of the most successful paths of small business ownership in the United States. – Digital Journal, AAHOA Board Member Jagruti Panwala Testifies Before Congress
Catherine Monson, the CEO of signage and banner company FastSigns International Inc. — which operates on a franchise model — said the general counsel's position marks a “drastic change” from how the board's joint employer status has been interpreted since 1984…“It will completely change, and I think, destroy the franchise model.” – Law 360, NLRB Joint Employer Stance Risky For Franchises, Reps. Told
A recent effort by the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel to “expand” joint employer liability under federal labor law could change the way franchise businesses operate, witnesses said …“In recent months, it's become clear the Obama National Labor Relations Board is determined to rewrite a franchise model that has served workers, employers, and consumers well for decades,” chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) said. – Bloomberg BNA, House Panel Considers Impact on Franchises Of Broadening NLRA Joint Employer Liability
The NLRB is going off the rails again. They have decided to destroy business franchise/franchisee agreements by allowing the corporations that spin out thousands of small businesses using their name, business model and products to be sued over the alleged actions of a few of the small, independent business….This strikes at the heart of the independence of almost 1 million locally owned franchise businesses. – The Hill, Op-Ed, by Rick Manning, NLRB Goes Rogue Against Small Business
To read the members' letter, click here.
To learn more about the September 9 oversight hearing, click here.
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On Wednesday, September 17 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), will hold a legislative hearing on the EEOC Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 4959), the Litigation Oversight Act of 2014 (H.R 5422), and the Certainty in Enforcement Act of 2014 (H.R. 5423). The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. At a recent oversight hearing, witnesses shared growing concerns with various EEOC regulatory and enforcement actions. For example, “guidance” finalized in 2012 limits employers’ use of criminal background checks during the hiring process. The subcommittee also examined EEOC’s increasing reliance on systemic discrimination cases and the commission’s delegation of its litigation authority to the Office of General Counsel. In response to these concerns, a number of legislative proposals have been introduced:
Wednesday’s hearing will provide members the opportunity to examine these proposals and ongoing concerns over EEOC’s regulatory and enforcement practices.
To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
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Ms. Lynn A. Clements
Director, Regulatory Affairs
Berkshire Associates, Inc.
Mr. Eric S. Dreiband
Mr. Michael L. Foreman
Director, Civil Rights Appellate Clinic
The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law
State College, PA
Mr. William F. Lloyd
New York, NY
Child care and community leaders are voicing support for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to help low-income families access child care while a parent pursues an education or job-training.
“This bill will provide important reforms that will directly address quality improvement, affordability, continuity of care, and cost stabilization measures that will benefit families and support providers.” – New Horizon Academy
“This bill sets the standard all families expect for their children by requiring providers to undergo comprehensive background checks, annual and pre-licensure inspections, and training... [and] includes significant measures to improve the quality of child care and ensure that all children in child care settings are safe.”– Child Care Aware of America
“Your substitute amendment retains that critical provision and even adds language in various sections that supports the availability of a variety of approaches to childhood development.” – Council for American Private Education
“CCDBG ensure[s] parents continue to have the capacity to choose from a broad diversity of delivery models – including faith-based models – in early education.” – Association of Christian Schools International
"The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Program helps low-income working families and parents transitioning from welfare to work find safe, supportive, caring environments for their children.” – National Education Association
“CCDBG serves as essential support to working families who need to ensure their children are cared for and learning in a safe and high-quality setting during parents’ hours of employment, which often exceed the regular school day.” – Early Care and Education Consortium
“[CCDBG reauthorization] will greatly support the child care industry as a whole, especially private providers, and will allow families to fully explore a mixed-delivery system and seek out the best child care center for their children.” – National Child Care Association
“Working families with young children depend on child care so that they can obtain and retain a job … The Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Act will combine important safety protections for children in child care with more accountability for the expenditure of public dollars.” – First Children’s Finance
“The quality improvements in the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 will work to ensure that more children of low-income working families have access to a high-quality early care and learning experience that best meets their needs.” – Knowledge Universe
“The CCDBG Reauthorization Act is truly historic.” – Early Learning Policy Group
“We support the proposed CCDBG improvements focused on safety, health, and quality.” – Save The Children
“Child care assistance is an essential work-support for low income parents … [CCDBG] is unique among federal programs in that its two-generational focus has the ability to support both parents’ economic success and children’s healthy development.” – Center for Law and Social Policy
“The members of Congress, in this agreement, strengthen a program that was worked well over the last two decades and continues to provide low-income working families with the child care assistance they need, from the provider they choose.” – United States Council of Catholic Bishops and National Catholic Education Association
“The bicameral, bipartisanChild Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Act will combine important safety protections for children in child care with more accountability for the expenditure of public dollars." – Child Care Aware of Virginia
"Working families with young children need child care, and children need a place to be safe and a setting that promotes their healthy development. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of working families.” – Child Care Resources
"The law was last reauthorized in 1996, and given the amount of research, particularly in the area of brain science, that has been conducted since, [the First Five Years Fund] appreciates that S. 1086 emphasizes quality, continuity of care, and stability of care arrangements that frees parents to work and supports child development." – First Five Years Fund
“We are pleased to see more attention to the quality of children’s experiences and ways to help providers meet and sustain standards for health, safety, and children’s learning.” –National Association for the Education of Young Children
“We support the proposed CCDBG improvements focused on the safety, health, and quality of child care in the U.S.” – National Coalition on Children and Disasters
“The proposed bill puts a much larger focus on quality – supporting efforts to increase the quality of care and to communicate quality information to parents in ways that are both transparent and easy to access.” – Minnesota’s Future
"We must prioritize the development and care of our youngest citizens now. We support S.1086 and its enhanced quality requirements as an investment in our future military preparedness" - Mission: Readiness
Nemours enthusiastically supports S. 1086, as we believe it will create a solid foundation to increase access to and improve the quality of child care for families and children benefitting from the CCDBG program." –Nemours
"Quality child care is critical for working families. However, parents can't have choices among quality settings unless children are safe and the child care workforce has the training they need to promote quality care. Thank you for supporting working families and for working to strengthen the quality of child care.” – OCCRRA
"Your efforts will have a positive impact on a program critical not only to working parents but to the 6 million infants and toddlers who currently spend some portion of their days in child care." – Zero to Three
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Across the country countless men and women are trying to build a better life for their families. Some are working more for less in order to make ends meet. Others are pursuing a degree at a local university or improving their skills at a nearby community college.
Whether going to work or school, most parents face a difficult question: Who will care for my child? Is there a trusted child care provider who will keep my son or daughter safe? And if there is, can I afford it?
For nearly two decades, the Child Care and Development Block Grant program has helped low-income families answer these tough questions. The program funds state efforts to provide vulnerable families access to child care. Parents receive assistance in the form of a voucher or certificate to pay the child care provider of their choice.
Approximately one and a half million children under the age of 13 are in a child care arrangement funded through the program, including over 25,000 children in my home state of Minnesota. It is a vital safety net for moms and dads trying to lift their families out of poverty.
At a hearing held earlier this year, one witness told the story of a woman named Rita. Speaking of the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, Rita said, “These federal investments were a quite serious lifeline for me…I know where I came from and I do not want to go back.”
Rita’s experience is shared by countless Americans. Yet despite the importance of the program, it has been almost 20 years since Congress reformed the law. As with any federal program left on auto-pilot, problems will emerge and this program is no different.
Poor coordination across related services and a lack of information make it difficult for parents looking for the best provider to know the full range of options. Perhaps most troubling, a patchwork of state licensing, monitoring, and related safety requirements means some children aren’t protected like they should be.
These families deserve better, which is why I am proud to support this important legislation. The bill before us includes a number of commonsense reforms that will strengthen the program and our support of these at-risk families.
For example, the legislation requires all participating child care providers to undergo, at a minimum, an annual inspection to ensure compliance with health, safety, and fire standards. The bill enhances existing training for providers and their workers, so every child is under the care of a well-trained professional. The legislation also reins in the authority of the secretary of Health and Human Services, to prevent this and future administrations from writing onerous rules that would limit access to this important service.
We have a long way to go before every American enjoys the opportunity and prosperity they and their families deserve. By supporting this bipartisan legislation, we have a chance to help these families succeed and set their children on the path to a bright future.
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A bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders today announced a legislative agreement to improve and reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. Negotiated by Representatives John Kline (R-MN), George Miller (D-CA), Todd Rokita (R-IN), and David Loebsack (D-IA), and Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC), the agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act provides funds to states to help low-income families pay for child care while a parent works or is in an educational or job training program. The law has not been reauthorized since 1996. Today’s bipartisan, bicameral agreement is based upon legislation introduced in 2013 by Senators Mikulski and Burr that passed the Senate earlier this year.
“The Child Care and Development Block Grant program is a vital lifeline for countless Americans,” said Rep. Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “Working moms and dads have pursued a career, earned a degree, or acquired new skills and training because of the support available through this program. The commonsense ideas included in this bipartisan, bicameral agreement will only strengthen our support of these working families. I want to thank my House and Senate colleagues for working together to forge this bipartisan agreement.”
“For working families in Iowa and around the country, access to safe and affordable child care is essential,” said Senator Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “This bipartisan bill will help to ensure working parents have access to quality, affordable child care and provide rich early-learning opportunities for children, including infants and toddlers and children with disabilities. This bill is a strong example of what Congress can achieve by working together. I am encouraged by the HELP Committee’s growing record of bipartisan accomplishments and look forward to the President signing this critical bill into law.”
“Every parent, regardless of their income level, deserves to know that their child is well cared-for,” said Rep. Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill improves child care access, makes critical new investments, and helps to ensure children are safe and are receiving quality care. Reliable care sets children on the path toward success in school and in the rest of their lives. While helping to prepare the next generation, good child care also supports working parents to promote greater workforce stability. These updates to CCDBG are vital for our children, our families, and our nation’s future.”
“This bill helps a working Tennessee mother be able to pay for child care while she earns a degree so she can pay for it herself,” said Sen. Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate HELP Committee. “Every month, an average of 39,000 Tennessee children get child care through this program while their parents earn an education or build a career. Today’s agreement will continue success stories like the Memphis mother whose infant received care through this program while she earned a business degree and rose to assistant manager at a Walmart, enabling her to pay for the care of her second child at the same childcare center.”
“For families struggling to make ends meet, quality child care is a necessity,” said Rep. Rokita. “This significant agreement strengthens a child care program that has been untouched for nearly two decades. It does so by preserving provider choice, improving transparency, and most importantly, child safety. This bill could truly save lives, and I look forward to its passage.”
“Every working parent with children no matter their income level worries about child care,” said Sen. Mikulski. “What’s affordable? What’s accessible? Will my child be safe? Where can I get the very best care for my kid? It is not enough to simply ensure that kids have someplace to go. We must also ensure that they go someplace that is safe, that nurtures their development, that challenges their mind, and that prepares them for school. I am so pleased that the Senate and House have come together on a bipartisan basis to revitalize, refresh, and reform this vitally important program to support child care providers, give parents peace of mind, and better prepare our children for the future. It’s time to get this done for children, parents, and providers alike!”
“As the son of a single mother, I know how important quality, affordable child care is for working families,” said Rep. Loebsack. “The Child Care Development Block Grant provides a critical lifeline to families and allows them to work or attend school with the peace of mind knowing their children are safe and well cared for. This bipartisan agreement makes long needed updates and improvements to CCDBG that will promote healthy child development and enhance quality and safety. I am pleased that both Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate came together to improve the lives of working families.”
“Over three years ago Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and I made a commitment to reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Block Grant program so that kids could have safer environments in which to stay while their parents worked and taxpayers did not continue to subsidize providers who created unsafe settings and threatened their well-being. It has been a long time coming, but I’m proud we have reached this point," said Senator Richard Burr. "I am thankful for the work of my colleagues in the Senate and the House who stood together to ensure the passage of this legislation. This legislation will positively impact the lives of millions of children and their parents.”
The bipartisan, bicameral agreement includes reforms to:
The text of the bill is available here.
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A free and democratic society requires government transparency and accountability. We all want the federal government to serve the best interests of every American – those directly affected by federal programs and those whose tax dollars fund federal programs. To get there, we need to know what’s working and what isn’t. And we need to know the steps an agency should take to turn things around.
The Department of Education administers roughly 80 programs tied to K-12 schools; 80 programs just at the elementary and secondary education level. It requires a massive bureaucracy to administer so many programs, and the greater the bureaucracy the greater the opportunities for mismanagement. That is why the House has taken action that would begin streamlining these programs, because a more efficient Department of Education can do a better job supporting our nation’s schools.
However, even the leanest federal agency can still be susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse. We must remain vigilant in our oversight, both in Congress and the offices of our independent partners. The Government Accountability Office and inspectors general are at the forefront of this important effort. Their knowledge and investigative authority are vital tools in the fight against government corruption and mismanagement.
Chairwoman Foxx noted several reports by GAO affecting higher education policies with recommendations that remain open. Here are just a few examples affecting K-12 education policies:
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2181 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515