Friday, January 28, 2011

Congress Finalizes Committee Assignments

Yesterday, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders agreed to new committee assignments, completing the 112th Congress’ committee assignments for both the House & Senate. You can find a PDF of the committee assignments here.

Additionally, the Senate reached and adopted a bipartisan compromise last night on changes to the chamber’s rules to speed up the legislative process. Although some Senators had advocated for direct limits to the use of the filibuster, lawmakers instead agreed upon less-controversial reforms to secret holds, confirmations, and the reading of amendments. Under the compromise, secret holds on legislation and nominees will be eliminated, the number of executive branch nominations subject to confirmation will be reduced by about a third, and Senators will no longer be allowed to force chamber clerks to read aloud amendments if those amendments have been posted online for at least 72 hours. Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) entered into a “gentlemen’s agreement” to reduce the frequency of filibusters of motions to begin consideration of legislation, but this part of the compromise is not backed by any official rule change.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

DOL Announces Grant Application for Community College and Career Training Grant Program

Today, the solicitation for grant applications for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAA CCTG) was announced by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Applications will be accepted from both individual community colleges and eligible institutions, as well as consortia of two or more eligible institutions across a community, region, state, or industry sector. The Department of Labor intends to fund grants ranging from $2.5 million to $5 million for individual applicants and from $2.5 million to $20 million for consortium applicants. The TAA CCTG Program is authorized for $500 million for each of four years, fiscal years 2011 through 2014, to support educational and career-training programs focused on dislocated and unemployed workers. Each state will be guaranteed a minimum of 0.5% of the total funding, or $2.5 million per state per year.

Funds are provided to expand and improve education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. The targeted population of this program is workers who have lost their jobs or are threatened with job loss as a result of foreign trade. The deadline for applications is April 21, 2011.

To see the official solicitation for grant applications, please visit

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