February 27, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my concerns with H.R. 228. While the legislation seeks to provide additional flexibility and support to Indian tribes--a worthy goal--I remain concerned that it could have the effect of weakening the services provided to families and children in Indian tribes.

   Currently, Indian tribes have the option to consolidate certain federal funding streams related to work and job training into one grant. H.R. 228 includes a number of changes to this consolidation option and expands the number of programs that can be consolidated.

   The legislation could be interpreted in an overly broad fashion resulting in the inclusion of programs that may not be appropriate to include--programs or services only ``related to'' job training, skill development, and economic development, or other related goals.

   Last Congress, the legislation was given a sequential referral to the Education and the Workforce Committee, on which I serve as Ranking Member. However, the legislation was not considered in the Committee and we have yet to assess its impact on education and training programs within our jurisdiction.

   Specifically, our Committee has an interest in ensuring that program funds are used for their intended purpose. Whether the TANF program or Head Start, adequate reporting and oversight protect beneficiaries and ensure the quality of services. For example, Head Start performance standards are vital to the success of the program.

   While I do not intend to oppose the legislation, I encourage continued robust oversight of the programs impacted by this bill to ensure that quality and effective education and job training programs remain available to our nation's tribes.