WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) today delivered the following speech in support of the SKILLS Act, a measure that will modernize our federal workforce training programs to ensure that they are efficiently and effectively helping workers, jobseekers, and employers:
"I thank the gentlelady for yielding and I thank her for her leadership on this very, very important issue.
"As I travel across Virginia's 5th District, it is clear that years of failed policies – like the President's health care law, higher taxes, and stimulus spending – have impacted the people that I represent.
"Main Streets all across our rural district have seen our small businesses struggle. And families across our district have felt the pain as neighbors, friends, and family members have lost their jobs and tried to find work.
"As our economy struggles, ensuring our unemployed and underemployed have access to the skills training that they need to improve their careers is as important as ever.
"However, the federal government's workforce training programs – while well intended – are cluttered with bureaucracy, waste, and inefficiency. They are not helping those they were intended to help.
"Americans will not benefit from these programs until we ensure that they are both efficient and effective.
"At a time when the national debt is skyrocketing, a 2011 study from the Government Accountability Office found that taxpayers are spending $18 billion on 47 duplicative job training programs across nine federal agencies.
"Our top priority in the House of Representatives has been getting Americans out of the unemployment lines and into good paying jobs. And today we are standing up to make those critical reforms.
"By adopting the SKILLS Act, Congress will put words into action and take a critical step toward getting our communities back to work.
"This legislation will eliminate red tape that prevents workers from accessing job training, and it will ensure that support is tailored to the specific needs of individual workers.
"A strong workforce is critical to the future of this great nation. I remain committed to looking for ways to get Virginia's 5th District back to work. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this rule and supporting the underlying legislation.
"I yield back the balance of my time."