06.27.18

Senator Murray Applauds Bipartisan Progress on Career and Technical Education, Maternal Mortality, and More

Senator Murray praised bipartisan work on reauthorization of key career and technical education program for helping states and local communities maintain a competitive workforce in changing 21st century economy

 

Murray also applauded a maternal mortality bill the Committee passed as an important step in addressing national crisis

 

Murray: “I am pleased we were able to push our partisan differences aside and will vote today on a number of bipartisan bills that aim to build an economy, and a country, that works for everyone.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) — Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered opening remarks at the Committee’s executive session to mark-up a package of health and education bills, including: the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act reauthorization, Maternal Health Accountability Act, Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act, and Sports Licensure Medical Clarity Act. All of the bills passed through committee with unanimous bipartisan support. Committee members also voted to advance two nominations to the Senate floor: Scott Stump for Assistant Secretary of Education for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, and John Lowry III for Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training.

 

In her remarks, Senator Murray emphasized the critical role of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in providing students and workers the training necessary to compete and succeed in a changing 21st century economy. She thanked her colleagues for working together on a bipartisan reauthorization bill that would encourage states, and local CTE providers to update career and technical education programs to meet the needs of the local economy, and give states the tools that they need to maintain high-quality programs.

 

Senator Murray also expressed her appreciation that the Committee was able to take an important step in understanding and responding to the nation’s high maternal mortality rate by passing the Maternal Health Accountability Act, which would increase funding for maternal mortality research, support, and monitoring. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“While this Committee doesn’t always agree—I am pleased we were able to push our partisan differences aside and will vote today on a number of bipartisan bills that aim to build an economy, and a country, that works for everyone. After all—that should be our top priority in Congress—to help make peoples’ lives a little bit better.”

 

“We’re going to be voting on a number of important issues today, but I want to start with a bill that is critically important if our country wants to compete in a changing 21st century economy. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is an important update to career and technical education that will allow programs to adapt to the needs of their community and will continue to provide students and workers with training they need to get better jobs with higher wages.”

 

“This is a bill Republicans, Democrats, businesses, educators, and students all agreed needed to get done. But Mr. Chairman, you and I agreed we couldn’t just pass a bill for the sake of passing a bill—we needed to get this right. So I want to thank Senators Casey and Enzi for working with us to get to a bipartisan agreement that will update this law to directly benefit students, workers, and businesses.”

 

“The number of mothers who die in childbirth in this country has been too high for too long, and we know too little about the problem. The Maternal Health Accountability Act will begin to change that by helping states establish maternal mortality review committees.”

 

“Today we’re also taking important steps to reauthorize the PREEMIE Act by updating programs that support efforts to address preterm birth, including monitoring and research programs, and improving resources on prenatal care—including maternal immunizations, and screening for substance use disorders and mental health conditions so we can learn more about preterm birth and give communities what they need to support the health of moms-to-be and their infants.”

 

“However, I’m disappointed this legislation allows an authorization for funding for some of these activities to expire. These critical efforts will be for naught if they aren’t actually funded…”

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

“At a time when so many of our families are struggling, it is clear Republicans and Democrats in Congress must work together to address the issues that are holding people and business back from achieving what they need to in today’s economy.

 

“And while this Committee doesn’t always agree—I am pleased we were able to push our partisan differences aside and will vote today on a number of bipartisan bills that aim to build an economy, and a country, that works for everyone. After all—that should be our top priority in Congress—to help make peoples’ lives a little bit better.

 

“While this Committee doesn’t always agree—I am pleased we were able to push our partisan differences aside and will vote today on a number of bipartisan bills that aim to build an economy, and a country, that works for everyone. After all—that should be our top priority in Congress—to help make peoples’ lives a little bit better.

 

[Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act]

 

“We’re going to be voting on a number of important issues today, but I want to start with a bill that is critically important if our country wants to compete in a changing 21st century economy. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is an important update to career and technical education that will allow programs to adapt to the needs of their community and will continue to provide students and workers with training they need to get better jobs with higher wages.

 

“This is a bill Republicans, Democrats, businesses, educators, and students all agreed needed to get done. But Mr. Chairman, you and I agreed we couldn’t just pass a bill for the sake of passing a bill—we needed to get this right. So I want to thank Senators Casey and Enzi for working with us to get to a bipartisan agreement that will update this law to directly benefit students, workers, and businesses.

 

“The specifics of this law are so important—and Mr. Chairman, I’d like to submit a longer statement for the record detailing some of the most important provisions of this bill.

 

[Nomination of Scott Stump to be Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Department of Education]

 

“Before I discuss the other legislation, I want to briefly touch on the two nominees we will be voting on today.

 

“First—the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the Department of Education plays a vital role in preparing students and workers with the skills they need—and is critical to implementing the career and technical law we are voting on today.

 

“So, I look forward to working with Scott Stump to help provide workers and students with high quality career and technical education.

 

[Nomination of John Lowry III to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training, Department of Labor]

 

“Second—the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) at the Department of Labor helps fulfill our commitment to service members reentering civilian life through training and employment placement, for veterans, homeless veterans, and military spouses.

 

“While I have concerns about this Administration’s commitment to both veterans and workers, I believe John Lowry is qualified and I hope to work with him to ensure our veterans are getting the assistance they deserve. 

 

[Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2017]

 

“I’m also pleased we were able to come together on legislation that will help address our nation’s high maternal mortality rate.

 

“The number of mothers who die in childbirth in this country has been too high for too long, and we know too little about the problem. The Maternal Health Accountability Act will begin to change that by helping states establish maternal mortality review committees.

“It also includes more research through the CDC into the enormous health disparities in maternal mortality rates, which are significantly higher for African-American and American Indian and Alaska Native women.

 

“In addition to more research we absolutely need more resources committed to this. That’s why I’m offering my amendment to increase the authorization level for the Safe Motherhood Initiative, which will allow CDC to take on this new work.


“While this legislation is a meaningful first step, our work is not done. We need to do more to help expecting mothers stay healthy.

 

“I’m grateful to Senators Heitkamp and Capito for their hard work to move this bill forward, and I’m going to keep working with them to see it become law.

 

“I’m also going to keep working to find more solutions to help address our nation’s unconscionably high maternal mortality rate.

 

[Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early Reauthorization Act of 2018]

 

“Today we’re also taking important steps to reauthorize the PREEMIE Act by updating programs that support efforts to address preterm birth, including monitoring and research programs, and improving resources on prenatal care—including maternal immunizations, and screening for substance use disorders and mental health conditions so we can learn more about preterm birth and give communities what they need to support the health of moms-to-be and their infants.

 

“Mr. Chairman, I’m glad our Committee is passing this legislation, with bipartisan support. Thank you Senator Bennett and Chairman Alexander for your work on this.

 

“However, I’m disappointed this legislation allows an authorization for funding for some of these activities to expire. These critical efforts will be for naught if they aren’t actually funded, and while you and I both serve as authorizers and appropriators…

 

“I believe it’s our responsibility in this Committee to authorize sufficient resources for the programs we are creating or updating—this bill should be no exception. So I hope that’s something we can work on across our work together.  

 

[Sports Licensure Medical Clarity Act of 2017]

 

“And I’d like to thank Senator Klobuchar for her work on the Sports Licensure Medical Clarity Act—which helps clarify the licensure needs of travelling doctors and care professionals who monitor athletes’ health—whether they’re at home or away.

 

[Using Data to Help Protect Children and Families Act]

 

“Finally, I’d like to thank Senator Young and Chairman Alexander for agreeing to continue our work on legislation to pilot a new program to improve screening tools for our child welfare system. Our staffs have been working hard on this, and I’m hopeful we can find a bipartisan agreement that provides a path forward for this new pilot and the safeguards that are so necessary for any new, unproven program like this.

 

“Because when we’re talking about child welfare, we’re talking about decisions with enormous consequences for our most vulnerable children and families—it’s critical we get this right from day one.

 

“Used well, predictive analytics can help child welfare workers make better decisions about child safety and wellbeing, but used poorly, they may perpetuate and amplify existing problems, like biases based on race, socio-economic status, and urban-rural inequities, to name a few.

 

“I believe we all want this bill to purposefully work to reduce bias in order to move us toward better risk screening tools for child safety and wellbeing.

 

“And to keep this unproven pilot accountable to that goal, it’s important we make this system available for independent testing and evaluation, and be transparent to the public about its effects. 

 

“Our staffs have been hard at work on this—and we’re getting closer to an agreement. As so many of the other bills before the Committee prove, I believe we can get there if we focus on our shared goals for this program.”

 

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