The House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment I offered that will keep 170 low-income seniors working in WNC.
The Amendment, offered to the Fiscal Year 2007 Labor and Health and Human Service (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill, reverses a decision by the U.S. Department of Labor that would have ended the Forest Service’s participation in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Since 1972, Forest Service units across the country have used SCSEP grant funds to employ low-income seniors age 55 and older in a variety of public service positions, including campground maintenance, Job Corps student training, fleet and facility management and interpretation. This year, however, the Department of Labor arbitrarily changed the terms and qualifications for SCSEP funds, effectively preventing the Forest Service from receiving future grants and continuing its thirty year history of success with the program. The Taylor Amendment – which passed by an overwhelming and bipartisan voice vote – ensures that the Forest Service will continue to be eligible to receive SCSEP funding, and that 170 seniors in WNC will continue to be employed.
This is exactly why I fought to become a Member of the Appropriations Committee – to protect WNC jobs and the economic growth of our region. The SCSEP participants have become a crucial part of the Forest Service’s workforce and the American public’s experience in our national forests. It’s the proverbial win-win, and I’m proud to have played a part in allowing these WNC seniors to keep sharing their skills and talents.
The FY2007 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill, including the language of the Taylor Amendment, was reported out of the full appropriations committee last week. It will be considered by the full House in the next few weeks, and will then be sent to the Senate for its consideration.