Rep. Reed Continues to Characterize Restrictions in House UI Proposal As Giving People “Tools”

(edited slightly at 5:33 PM for for clarity)

In yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor story on the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance (UI) extension negotiations, Rep. Reed (R-NY) is again quoted making the claim that the House’s proposal to deny unemployment benefits to those without a GED or high school diploma until they obtain one (or are at least enrolled in a class and making certain undefined progress toward such a credential) is actually providing “tools” to assist these individuals.

“Democrats are not willing to allow states the flexibility they need to give people tools to be reemployed,” says freshman Rep. Tom Reed (R) of New York. A strong advocate for these provisions, Congressman Reed says he’s now prepared to send unemployment benefits back to a 26-week level.

Again, as noted previously, there is nothing in this restriction that provides “tools” of any kind that will help people become reemployed. All the House proposal does is cut off benefits to those who are otherwise eligible but who lack a GED or High School diploma—unless they they can satisfy the vaguely-worded requirement that they are enrolled in a “class” and making “satisfactory progress” toward one of those two credentials (and only those two credentials). It doesn’t provide new funding for those classes, or any other “tools.”

Moreover the only “flexibility” provided for states in this proposal is the flexibility to opt out of the new restrictions the House wants to impose.

If you think the idea of providing more education and training opportunities to the unemployed sounds good, then the House UI proposal is not for you, because it does not actually do that. Instead, I suggest contacting your member of Congress and urging them to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, and to include an additional increase in funding for Title II of that act. That would result in putting actual adult education tools and resources in the hands of the unemployed—and others—seeking adult education opportunities.