Back in December, when Rep. Dave Camp introduced H.R. 3630, he issued the following statement:
The unemployment program must do more than simply send out checks – it must help people get back to work. The commonsense reforms House Republicans and I proposed included items like requiring those who receive unemployment benefits to actually look for work and work toward a GED if they don’t have a high school diploma. The reforms also would provide states with the ability to administer drug screening programs if they so choose. Democrats only wanted to send out more taxpayer-funded benefits. Republicans want to get these Americans the training and resources they need to move from an unemployment check to a paycheck.
Putting aside the issue that imposing an educational credential requirement would, in Robert Greenstein’s words, “violate the basic compact that the UI system has embodied” since it began, there are tens of thousands of adult leaners in the U.S. today who would love to do nothing more than enroll in a GED class if they could. But, as noted by myself and others, virtually every state in the country has waiting lists for adult education programs, and many states have cut back on adult education services. There are around 160,000 people on waiting lists for adult education services in federally-funded programs alone.
Rep. Camp claims that Republicans want to provide Americans with “the training and resources they need” but this bill does not do that. At best, it creates a desperate increase in the demand for that training while providing absolutely zero new investments for them, leaving many laid off workers with no way to meet the requirements imposed by this new restriction.