Trump Gets GOP Pushback On Plan To Close Job Centers And Lay Off Workers

11

Republican lawmakers are breaking with the White House on its plan to make cuts to a conservation job training program and lay off more than 1,000 federal workers.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including a dozen GOP members, sent a letter Wednesday urging Cabinet members not to shutter a third of the nation’s Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, which train underprivileged youth in jobs that help protect America’s public lands.

The White House has said it wants to streamline the program and make it cheaper. But those goals aren’t shared by the Republicans who will have to explain to constituents why their own centers are shutting down. They called the White House’s decision to pursue the closures without congressional approval or input “troubling.”

“These centers not only help support these underserved youth and young adults with invaluable job training, but they also provide essential capacity for the U.S. Forest Service to fulfill its mission and provide economic opportunities in rural areas,” the group wrote.

The letter is signed by 51 members of Congress and addressed to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

The plan, first reported by HuffPost, would transfer control of the program from the Agriculture Department to the Labor Department, cutting 1,065 federal jobs and at least eight centers in the process. The work at centers that don’t get axed could be contracted out, effectively privatizing them.

Students enrolled in CCC programs are trained in wildland firefighting, forestry and disaster recovery, and often work on public lands in the wake of disasters. Each year federal employees at the centers train nearly 4,000 young adults, most of them from low-income backgrounds. The program has been around since 1964.

In 2017 alone, students from the centers provided approximately 450,000 hours of wildfire response, and 5,000 hours responding in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey, according to the letter. Many labor unions view the program as a talent pipeline feeding into their own apprenticeship systems.

It’s not hard to see why President Donald Trump is running into trouble with his own party on this one. The training centers are all in rural areas, mostly in the South and West, and the centers slated to close tend to be in purple or red states: Montana, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia, Washington, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oregon.

Locations of the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers.



Locations of the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers.

“Keeping these job corps open is critical for Montana,” a spokeswoman for the senator wrote in an email to HuffPost. “Hundreds of people are employed by the training centers in Montana, in addition to so many young Montanans who receive invaluable training through these programs.”

Daines and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) joined other senators this week in introducing legislation to block the administration from closing other sites. Another Republican, Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.), offered an amendment to the 2020 agricultural appropriations bill this week that would block federal funds from being used to close or transfer job center operations to the Labor Department.

“These 25 centers provide critical support to rural communities in maintaining public lands, actively managing our nation’s forests and helping restore communities harmed by catastrophic wildfires,” he said during a congressional hearing Tuesday.

Rep. Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, has come out in support of Newhouse’s effort to stop the proposed cuts. Rogers’ district in southern Kentucky includes the Pine Knot Job Corps Center, which is on the list of those to be closed. Rogers called the programs “vital.”

Trump’s walk-back on cutting the Anaconda center brings to mind another unpopular policy pursued by the White House, the effort to open nearly all offshore waters to oil and gas development.

In that case, there was a similar outcry from Republicans in Florida, leading the administration to unofficially exempt the state from the policy. Lawmakers from other states up and down the East and West coasts, both Republicans and Democrats, subsequently demanded that their offshore waters also be taken off the table.

You May Also Like To Read :   We're All Recycling Wrong, So Companies Are Finally Trying To Make It Easier

You Are Reading the current post :

Trump Gets GOP Pushback On Plan To Close Job Centers And Lay Off Workers

You Like To READ :

sharing this post with your friends proof you are unselfish