New Dems Urge Appropriations Committee to Act on Member-Led Amendments

September 6, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The co-chairs of New Democrat Coalition task forces on work and national security sent letters to the House Appropriations Committee this week urging them to retain key House-passed amendments when conference deliberations get underway on the FY2020 appropriations package.

In July, the House passed New Democrat Coalition-led amendments to H.R. 2740, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020.

The coalition’s Future of Work Task Force co-chairs, led by Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., and co-sponsored by Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D- Del., Chris Pappas, D-N.H., and Haley Stevens, D-Mich., offered an amendment to modernize how the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures and forecasts labor trends and conducts the contingent worker survey, which measure people in non-traditional work arrangements,” Representative Foster said.

“As advances in technology and artificial intelligence continue to impact our economy and the nature of work, it is vital we have access to the most accurate data on how these trends are affecting American workers,” he continued. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the gold-standard for tracking workforce trends and providing policymakers with reliable projections, but it is not properly equipped to incorporate the effects of rapid technological change. This amendment is an important first step in making sure we effectively account for these changes so that we can pursue policies aimed at building an economy that works for everyone.”

The National Security Task Force co-chairs, led by Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and co-sponsored by Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., Anthony Brown, D-Md., and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., offered an amendment urging action on and expansion of a Government Accountability Office study on the impact of personnel vacancies at the Department of State on the country’s national security and foreign policy objectives. 

“Persistent vacancies at the Department of State, U.S. embassies and consulates around the world undermine the effectiveness of U.S. diplomatic efforts and can jeopardize our national security priorities,” Representative Spanberger said.

“By failing to fill these critical positions, particularly among senior political appointees, we are significantly reducing our ability to respond to emerging crises and reducing U.S. leadership and engagement with key allies and partners,” she continued. “We must demonstrate our support for Foreign Service and civil service personnel as they advance our interests abroad—and I’m proud to stand alongside my co-chairs on the New Democrat Coalition National Security Task Force as we encourage the State Department to act upon the GAO report, and urge the GAO to further its assessment of critical vacancies at the State Department.”

The letter sent to House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey and House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger by the Future of Work Task Force co-chairs can be read here. The letter sent by the National Security Task Force co-chairs can be read here.

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