Obama veterans blast Edulabor – POLITICO

 In Politics

With help from Marianne LeVine and Theodoric Meyer

OBAMA VETERANS BLAST EDULABOR : The White House plan to merge the Labor and Education departments into a single Education and the Workforce department came under fire from three former senior DOL officials Thursday, who said it would undermine DOL’s mission to protect workers. A flow chart suggests DOL’s seven enforcement agencies — including the Wage and Hour division, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — would be compressed into one division that would also include the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX protections (including those against campus sexual assault).

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In a document outlining the changes, the White House proposed “significant government-wide workforce development program consolidation, streamlining separate programs in order to increase efficiencies and better serve American workers.” The combined division, the White House said, “would reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, streamline access and better integrate education and workforce programs, and allow the administration to more effectively address the full range of issues affecting American students and workers.”

But the three former Obama officials took a different view. “The proposal has all the depth and sophistication of tissue paper,” said Seth Harris, who was deputy labor secretary under Hilda Solis. It shows, Harris said, “a shocking lack of knowledge or hostility to the mission of the Labor Department.” Chris Lu, who was deputy labor secretary under Tom Perez, said: “It misses that the Department of Labor is the only agency in the federal government [that] is charged with protecting workers.” And Heidi Shierholz, who was chief economist under Perez, called it “a cynical proposal to weaken the federal government’s ability to advance the well-being of ordinary Americans.”

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who typically goes out of his way to praise the administration on everything from tax reform to jobs numbers, issued no statement on the proposal. More from POLITICO’s Michael Stratford here.

GOOD MORNING! It’s Friday, June 22, and this is Morning Shift, POLITICO’s daily tipsheet on employment and immigration policy. Send tips, exclusives and suggestions to [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] Follow us on Twitter at @tedhesson, @IanKullgren, @AndrewBHanna and @TimothyNoah1.

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FEDS DON’T HAVE ENOUGH BEDS FOR MIGRANT FAMILIES: “The Trump administration has pledged to warehouse migrant families together. But at the moment, it has no place to put them,” POLITICO’s Ted Hesson and Wesley Morgan write.

“An executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday calls for the Homeland Security Department to keep migrant children in custody with their parents during criminal proceedings for illegal entry and subsequent immigration proceedings. But the cases of asylum-seekers caught at the border can take months or years to resolve — and the federal government has only 3,326 beds for detained families in three facilities, according to a 2017 watchdog report. The Border Patrol arrested 9,485 family members in May alone.” More here.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents, told CNN that if families are to be kept together, then the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy is doomed. “We’re going to have to release (families) under what’s called the catch-and-release program,” Judd said. “It’s impossible to not separate the family unless the catch-and-release policy takes hold again.” Judd said no written guidance had been provided to the Border Patrol to implement Trump’s executive order. More here.

FACING DEFEAT, HOUSE GOP POSTPONES IMMIGRATION BILL VOTE: Speaker Paul Ryan delayed until next week a vote on a “compromise” immigration bill meant to bridge the gap between moderates and conservatives after it became clear the measure would fail on the floor. “GOP leaders, however, are under no impression that they’ll be able to secure the 218 votes needed in the next 24 hours to pass the measure, and they only agreed to the postponement under pressure from conservative members who are opposed to the legislation in the first place,” POLITICO’s Rachael Bade, Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan report.

“A more conservative immigration proposal authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) failed on a 193-231 vote,” they write. “Forty one Republicans voted against the measure. The delay of a final vote on the compromise measure — hashed out during weeks of discussions between party leaders, GOP moderates and immigration hardliners — is designed to give members more time to review the bill”

President Donald Trump did House leaders no favors Thursday when he asked why a vote was even taking place given the Senate’s lack of interest. “What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct,” the president tweeted just hours before the vote. Republicans plan to modify the bill again to try to expand support. More here.

PENTAGON TO HOUSE 20,000 CHILDREN ON MILITARY BASES: “The Defense Department will house up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on military bases in coming months, a Pentagon official said Thursday, the latest twist in the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement effort,” Dan Lamothe, Seung Min Kim and Nick Miroff report in the Washington Post. “The agreement comes after the Department of Health and Human Services made the request. Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a military spokesman, said Thursday that the Pentagon will support it.”

“The plan seemingly will have similarities to 2014, when the Obama administration housed about 7,000 unaccompanied children on three military bases,” they write. “As required under the Economy Act, the memo said, the Defense Department would be reimbursed for all costs incurred. The sites will be run by HHS employees or contractors working with them, the memo said. They will provide care to the children, ‘including supervision, meals, clothing, medical services, transportation or other daily needs,’ and HHS representatives will be at each location.”

THE FIDUCIARY RULE IS DEAD: “A federal appeals court on Thursday officially vacated the Obama administration’s 2016 so-called fiduciary rule, which required brokers put their customers’ best interests ahead of their own compensation considerations,” POLITICO’s Patrick Temple-West writes. “The announcement was a technicality that affirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals 2-1 decision on March 15 to vacate the rule.” More here.

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