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House Passes Career & Technical Education Bill

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, June 22, 2017

This afternoon the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) with broad bipartisan support.  The bill is an updated version of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provided federal funding and support for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs on the state and local level. The Perkins bill has unfortunately been left unauthorized for over a decade. As we look at a rapidly approaching gap in our skilled workforce, reinvestment in programs that provide training and education is more important than ever. Last Congressional Session, the House passed a similar bill but the Senate failed to take the issue up. IMA-NA supports the passage of H.R. 2353 and the federal commitment to multiple pathways to education. The bipartisan H.R. 2353 focuses on investment in future generations of the US workforce in four main ways: 

  • Empowers state and local community leaders by simplifying the application process for receiving federal funds and providing more flexibility to use federal resources to respond to changing education and economic needs.
  • Improves alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Increases transparency and accountability by streamlining performance measures to ensure CTE programs deliver results, empowering parents, students, and stakeholders with a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs.
  • Ensures a limited federal role by reining in the Secretary of Education’s authority, limiting federal intervention, and preventing political favoritism.

 

 Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) issued the following statements upon passage of H.R. 2353 this afternoon:


“Far too many Americans have difficulty accessing the education and skills needed to build a promising career and successful future," Rep. Thompson said. "Jobs are going unfilled as employers face a shortage of skilled workers. Stronger career and technical education programs are exactly what this country needs to prepare our workers for the demands of a 21st century economy and meet the needs of employers. Today, we have handed a win to the American worker. This bipartisan bill puts America on the right path to closing the skills gap and sets our workers up for a future of success.”

“All education is career education," Chairwoman Foxx said. "Our nation’s career and technical education programs prepare many Americans to enter the workforce with the skills they need to succeed, and help close our nation’s skills gap. This bipartisan bill opens the door for more innovation in workforce development with the help of community leaders, educational institutions, and private business. We must continue to promote demand-driven workforce development that aligns education with the needs of employers who are anxious to hire American workers.”

To read the bill click here

To read a fact sheet on H.R. 2353 click here

Tags:  bill  committee on education and workforce  education  House  legislation  perkins reauthorization  Senate 

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IMA-NA Signs Letter of Support for Funding USGS Library

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Last week IMA-NA signed onto a letter along with other industry groups and geoscience organizations asking Congress to maintain FY17's funding level, of $5.8 million, for the US Geological Survey's (USGS) Library.  The Library is one of the world’s largest and most important Earth and natural resources libraries and provides an estimated return of over $7 to every $1 invested. The $45 million annual value is calculated according to what it would cost to reproduce the Library's information and services in the open market. The President's FY18 budget request includes a $3 million reduction in funding for the USGS Library. This substantial cut would result in the closure of 3, and potentially all 4, of the library locations and the elimination of 75% of the library employees. Additionally, the collections would also be placed in a dark archive. These cuts would effectively prohibit the general public, as well as the majority of USGS staff, from accessing the information of the USGS Library and prevent further financial return on the science housed in the library.

IMA-NA signed onto a letter urging Congress to continue funding the library at previous levels. As Chair of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition, IMA-NA feels there is substantial value in the geoscience contained in the USGS Library. An investment in the science that underpins the mining industry, is an investment in the mining industry's future in the United States. The USGS Library is a good example of a program that provides a substantial return on a, relatively small, investment in US geoscience. 

You'll find the letter attached below.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  administration  budget  Congress  legislation  letter  minerals science  msic  usgs 

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Senate Committee Advances Four More Presidential Nominees

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Today the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened to consider advancing four more nominees for roles in the Administration. The four nominees up for consideration by the Committee were: David Bernhardt to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Dan Brouillette to be Deputy Secretary of Energy, and Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to be Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). As has been reported on extensively, the Administration has hundreds of positions to fill within its various departments and agencies. Unfortunately, until these positions are filled federal agencies remain largely incapable of acting on their mission areas due to being understaffed. FERC stands out, as IMA-NA has noted, as an agency in dire need of staffing; however most of the Departments are equally hamstrung without appointed Deputy Secretaries. Chairwoman Murkowski herself is, reportedly, displeased with the pace of confirmation votes, as these nominees increased the number cleared through the Committee during this session to 6. 

Fortunately, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources moved the four nominees one step closer to confirmation by reporting all of them out of Committee favorably. Only David Bernhardt passed through the Committee without strong bipartisan votes. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine) were the only non-Republicans to approve Bernhardt's nomination leading to a vote count of 14-9. Democrats on the Committee withheld support based on his recent career as a lobbyist, working on behalf of energy and mining firms, including oil and gas companies. Environmentalists raised concerns that Bernhardt could use a position as Deputy Secretary of the Interior to enrich his former clients. 

IMA-NA is pleased to see the Senate moving the confirmation process forward and commend the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for approving four qualified nominees for positions of great importance to our federal government. 

Tags:  appointee  confirmation  Congress  department of interior  FERC  legislation  nominee  Senate 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Afternoon

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, June 2, 2017

Please join us for June's First Friday's Ask IMA today, June 2nd at 1:00pm EST. IMA-NA staff will update members on ongoing legislative and regulatory issues, including percentage depletion, CERCLA 108(b), and the recently released full Presidential budget.  In addition to updating members on lobbying efforts and issues of concern for the industry, staff will also be discussing the upcoming 3rd Annual North American Minerals Day and our partnership with IMA-Europe for the 10th Annual European Minerals Day.

Click here to register

Tags:  education  first friday  legislation  member outreach  Regulations 

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House Education and Workforce Committee Passes Career & Technical Education Bill

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This morning, the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (HR 2353) with unanimous bipartisan support. The bill reauthorizes and updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act), which provides federal support to state and local career and technical education programs. HR 2353 is nearly identical to legislation passed by the full House during the 114th Congress, HR 5587. During the Committee markup of the bill, both Republican and Democrat alike focused on the need to provide for educational resources to provide individuals opportunities outside the 4 year bacalaureat programs. Almost every Committee member cited the growing skills gap, the existence of high paying jobs in traditional industries, and greater individual choice as incentives to reauthorize and update the Perkins Act. Additionally, the Committee sees this legislation as a step forward in providing for programs built through stakeholder collaboration that are reactive to the needs of industry in the United States. HR 2353 will need to pass the full House before moving to the Senate, as of now a vote is expected some time in June.

As with years past, IMA-NA signed onto a letter supporting the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. The letter has a broad array of signatories that demonstrate the scope of this legislation.  The letter is attached below.

To read the opening statements click here

 Attached Files:

Tags:  115th Congress  bipartisan  committee on education and workforce  Congress  education  legislation  perkins reauthorization 

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Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on US Dependence on Foreign Minerals

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing “To Examine the United States’ Increasing Dependence on Foreign Sources of Minerals and Opportunities to Rebuild and Improve the Supply Chain in the United States”. The Hearing featured testimony from a variety of experts who were able to provide insight into both the importance of cultivating a domestic supply chain for minerals and the current impediments to investment in mining in the United States. The list of witnesses was as follows:

·       Dr. Murray Hitzman, Associate Director, Energy and Minerals, The U.S. Geological Survey (testimony)

·       Mr. Alf Barrios, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto Aluminum (testimony)

·       Dr. Chris Hinde, Director of Reports, Metals and Mining, S&P Global Market Intelligence (testimony)

·       Mr. Randy MacGillivray, Vice President, Project Development, Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. (testimony)

·       Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, USN (Retired), President and Chief Executive Officer, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) (testimony)

·       Dr. Roderick G. Eggert, Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation Chair in Mineral Economics Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines (testimony)

 

Chairwoman Murkowski (R-AK) continues to be a champion for mineral development and investment in the United States. Her opening statement as well as her questions demonstrated her knowledge of the role minerals play in the global and domestic economy and the reliance every sector has on accessible and affordable minerals. In addition to the predictably supportive Republican Senators, the Democrat Senators in attendance all also appeared to understand the importance of the mining industry and the responsible development of domestic resources. During the Q&A portion of the hearing the Senators asked questions on a variety of issues that impact IMA-NA members. Please see the synopses below on questions of particular interest.

 

·       Permitting: Multiple Senators asked for insight on how the permitting process impacts US development of mineral resources. The consistent message from the panel was that the permitting process in the United States needs takes substantially longer than Canada and Australia, two countries with comparable standards, and that the process can be improved by eliminating duplicative components, syncing up different agencies’ requirements to work on things simultaneously, setting actualized deadlines, and providing certainty in the long term requirements.

·       CERCLA: Senator Lee (R-UT) asked whether CERCLA 108(b) would have a negative impact on the mining industry. Mr. Barrios answered that the rule would disincentivize investment in new mining projects in the United States. Additionally, Barrios noted that the bonding requirements are duplicative as companies already carry bonding under other programs to cover the clean up of contaminated sites.

·       Education: The Committee had questions related to both the education of the general public, Congress, and the Administration about the industry and the state of the mining engineering pipeline at mining schools. These questions reflect conversations IMA-NA members and staff continue on the best way to increase awareness of our industry in a positive light. In addition, the focus on encouraging the next generation of mining professionals also mirrors current IMA-NA outreach and program development.

·       Minerals Science: Senator Murkowski took some time to comment on her belief in funding the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide the US with the most complete information possible on the resources available. She specifically focused on the need to create a complete map of the minerals of United States, as only 1/3 of the country is currently mapped.

·       Transportation: Senator Stabenow (D-MI) asked a question about the role access to reasonable transportation for mined products has in promoting domestic production of minerals. The panel all related that transportation costs made up a large part of operating budgets and certainly could negatively impact domestic production.

·       Soda Ash: Senator Barrasso (R-WY) asked a question about how minerals, such as Soda Ash, can remain competitive in a global market when US producers face both higher transportation costs and regulatory burdens, and are not subsidized in the way China subsidizes mining. Dr. Hitzman highlighted the importance of reliable transportation infrastructure, favorable tax codes, and consistent interpretation of laws and regulations.

 

The hearing gave a good indication of how the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee views the role of the mining industry in our economy and our national defense. Chairwoman Murkowski acknowledged plans to reintroduce her legislation S. 883, American Mineral Security Act of 2015, from last session as a way to further raise the importance of minerals to our national and economic well-being. Overall, the hearing provided the industry the opportunity to highlight the challenges of operating in the United States as well as the positive contributions the industry makes to society. 

To read Chairwoman Murkowski's opening statement click here.

To watch the recording of the hearing click here. 

Tags:  Barrasso  CERCLA  Congress  Energy and Natural Resources  ENR  hearing  industrial minerals industry  legislation  Legislators  minerals science  Murkowski  Senate  soda ash  usgs 

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IMA-NA Supports New Investment in US Infrastructure

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 3, 2017

IMA-NA along with 391 other stakeholders and industries sent a letter to President Drumpf and Congress supporting the development and passage of an infrastructure investment initiative.The broad base of support includes national organizations as well as state and local groups from all 50 states. The united voice behind the letter demonstrates the far reaching support to bring the infrastructure in the United States into the 21st century. Today, Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) began the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America, by referencing the letter. 

IMA-NA supports a reinvestment in US infrastructure and commends both President Drumpf and Congress for working to prioritize initiatives to update, repair, and improve infrastructure across the country. 

To read the letter please download the attachment. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  administration  infrastructure  legislation  letter  Trump 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IMA-NA will be convening First Friday's Ask IMA this Friday, February 3rd at 1:00pm EST. Following the Inauguration on January 20th, Donald Trump's Administration is officially underway. IMA-NA staff will take the opportunity this Friday to review the legislative, regulatory, and executive actions that could impact our industry in the coming months. We'll discuss IMA-NA's upcoming actions to represent the interests of the industrial minerals industry and answer any questions participants have on recent happenings in DC.

To Register Click Here. 

Tags:  administration  first friday  legislation  member outreach  outreach  Regulations  Trump 

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House Passes Bills to Expand Congressional Oversight of Regulatory Actions

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, January 6, 2017

This week the U.S. House of Representatives took their the first actions in the 115th Congress to address the regulatory agenda of the past 8 years. The House voted on and passed both the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act or H.R.26) almost completely along party lines. When taken together H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 allow Congress greater influence and oversight over both the last regulations to come out of the Obama Administration and future proposed regulations. Over the last 8 years, the Republican Caucus has consistently criticized and challenged the regulatory overreach promulgated under the Obama Administration; passage of H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 were in line with the start of this new congressional session. 

The Midnight Rules Relief Act will amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow lawmakers to bundle together multiple rules and overturn them en masse with a joint resolution of disapproval, if it passes the Senate. The CRA would apply to regulations put forward for review within the last 60 legislative days of the 114th Congressional Session. Opponents of the bill argue that it will result in the overturning of regulations without considering the merits of individual regulations, while sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) sees the action as streamlining the process of the CRA.

The REINS Act, true to its name, aims to curb the ability of agencies to promulgate unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations without Congress's sign off. Should the REINS Act pass the Senate and be signed into law, It would require Congressional approval of regulations, with an impact of $100 million or more on the economy, for them to take effect. 

These two bills would provide either more necessary oversight over the regulatory agencies or eat into the autonomy and power of the executive branch, depending on one's view of the jurisdictional limitations of the different branches of government. 

To read the Midnight Rules Relief Act click here.

To read the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 click here. 

Tags:  115th Congress  administration  Congress  GOP  House  legislation  overregulation  regulations  regulators  REINS 

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First Friday Ask IMA - Post Election Update TODAY

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, December 2, 2016

With the election finally over, DC is preparing for the start of a new Administration and Congressional Session in January. Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches, meaning there will be tremendous opportunity to enact their policy agenda. Please join IMA-NA staff today, December 2nd at 1:00pm EST to hear insights on how the Trump Administration's Cabinet choices could impact our industry, what the House and Senate are likely to focus on in the coming year, and how to get involved in shaping upcoming tax reform and the other issues important to the industrial minerals industry.

 

Click here to Register.

Tags:  administration  Congress  first friday  legislation  Legislators  politics  president  Regulations 

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