Reid hoping to break legislative logjam

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted Wednesday that a long-stalled workforce investment authorization would soon pass and voiced hope it would break a months-long stalemate.

Reid said the bipartisan legislation crafted by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) would pass Wednesday afternoon.

That would be a major step toward reforming the Workforce Investment Act, which Congress last authorized in 1998.

ADVERTISEMENT
“In these 16 years there have been several attempts to reauthorize this legislation and they have all fallen short,” Reid said.

He said he hoped the small legislative breakthrough would create some momentum to pass a few other measures before the election. Many lawmakers are pessimistic about getting anything else done before the lame duck session in December.

“They say in basketball if you’re not doing well, you have a lot of off days, that the best way for a shooter to get his rhythm back is to sink a couple of baskets,” Reid, an avid sports fan, added. “So I hope this theory proves true here in the Senate. It’s time we sank a couple of baskets. It’s time we start working together to get things done.”

The legislation would update and streamline job training and local workforce development programs. It would also provide training and educational opportunities to out-of-work Americans.

“In Nevada, tens of thousands have benefited from the job training placement and educational programs funded by the Workforce Investment Act,” Reid said.

The Workforce Investment Act has been overdue for re-authorization since 2003.

The pending legislation would put a strong emphasis on using real-world data and performance indicators to determine the effectiveness of the programs it funds. It would empower state and local workforce agencies to modify programs to fit local needs and align workforce systems with regional economies and workforces.