National Taxpayers Union urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 447, the “National Apprenticeship Act.” Though well-intentioned, NTU believes H.R. 447 would expand the size of the federal bureaucracy, increase spending without offsets, and prohibit innovative apprenticeship programs provided by the private sector from being grant eligible. Instead of a partisan proposal, we hope lawmakers work on a bipartisan approach that helps both workers and employers without saddling taxpayers with more debt.
NTU is supportive of policies that remove barriers to employment or make it easier for businesses to hire workers. For example, NTU supports legislation to expand 529 education savings accounts so that families can use these funds on apprenticeship programs. Additionally, NTU supports legislation prohibiting regulations similar to the National Labor Relations Board’s “joint employer” rule, and terminating Project Labor Agreements so more Americans can participate in construction projects. These harmful requirements limit a business’s ability to reach their full potential to grow their workforce.
These proposals share one thing in common: reducing the size and influence of government on the private sector. Unfortunately, H.R. 447 would expand the size of government through a top down, one-size-fits-all approach by the federal government though more red tape. Most concerning, however, H.R. 447 would authorize an increase in spending of nearly $3.9 billion over the ten year budget window, according to the Congressional Budget Office. While $3.9 billion over a decade might sound insignificant when measured against the multi-trillion federal budget deficit, it is still poor fiscal management to spend taxpayer dollars without offsets.
In addition to the concerning fiscal ramifications, H.R. 447 excludes the Department of Labor’s Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) rule from being grant-eligible. NTU is supportive of the IRAP as the program is meant to expand accessibility to apprenticeships and diversify the types of industries that make use of flexible apprenticeships though the private sector. While the IRAP rule is relatively new and it is too early to determine how successful it is, so far dozens of businesses have enrolled in the program. As such, it makes little sense to exclude a program that could prove to be a resounding success.
Roll call votes on H.R. 447 will be included in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Policy and Government Affairs Manager Thomas Aiello at Thomas.Aiello@ntu.org