ABMA & Workforce Development


Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson’s (R-PA-15) staff reached out to ABMA earlier this week to enlist our support for a resolution recognizing the importance of career and technical education (CTE). February is CTE Month and Rep. Thompson’s resolution is aimed at highlighting the importance of investment in this space. The resolution’s preamble highlights the fact that more than half of all jobs in the U.S. require some form of postsecondary education, but do not demand a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, the preamble notes that CTE matches employability skills with workforce demand and provides relevant academic and technical coursework leading to credentials of value for secondary, postsecondary and adult learners. 

Specifically, the bipartisan resolution, that is cosponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), would:

  • Support the designation of ‘‘Career and Technical Education Month’’ to celebrate career and technical education across the United States;
  • Support the goals and ideals of Career and Technical Education Month;
  • Recognize the importance of career and technical education in preparing a well-educated and skilled workforce in the United States; and
  • Encourage educators, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals, administrators, and parents to promote career technical education as a respected educational pathway for students.

According to Rep. Thompson’s team, the resolution will be introduced next week. ABMA will be listed as an endorsing organization. 

On a related note, ABMA attended an event this week for Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04). Rep. Auchincloss, who we found both articulate and personable, is a Harvard graduate who joined the Marines after college and commanded infantry squadrons in Afghanistan and special operations in Panama. The event was attended by a number of university officials who were in town for a fly-in. One of the university participants asked about how to move student debt loan forgiveness through Congress and Rep. Auchincloss noted that he opposed student debt loan forgiveness legislation last Congress. Despite his impressive academic credentials, he believes strongly that a four year college degree is not the only path forward for upward mobility and that it is a bad look for the Democrat party to be promoting loan forgives only for 4 year college debt. ABMA will be reaching out to Rep. Auchincloss to support our workforce priorities in the 118th Congress. 

Supply Chain

This week, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL), co-chair of the Congressional Supply Chain Caucus, announced that the House would move on a comprehensive supply chain package in early May. Rep. Johnson is expecting that his legislation that we reported on last week—H.R. 147 the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act—will be the centerpiece of the package. Recall that this bill would expedite licensing of new truck drivers, provide tax incentives to entice new truck drivers to take up trucking as a profession and includes a pilot program to allow heavier trucks to travel on our nation’s interstate highway system. In addition to addressing trucking bottlenecks, the bill would also include provisions that were not included in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act  enacted last year. 

Forest Management

On February 1, bipartisan and bicameral legislation was introduced to promote more active management of our federal forest lands. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4) and Scott Peters (D-CA-50) in introducing the Root and Stem Authorization Act. The legislation would encourage landowners and regulators to come together to design and implement forest restoration projects. A variety of industry and environmental groups support the bill, characterizing it as an important step forward to cut back on wildfire risks while promoting science-based land management.

Also notable on the timber supply/federal forest management front, Representatives. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6) led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore expressing concern about low timber harvests in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, which fell 11 percent compared to FY 2019. The letter points out that five sawmills located near national forest system lands have closed during the past three years, with more sawmills and forestry contractors facing similar challenges during the next year and a half. Sixteen House Republicans and three Democrats co-signed the letter.