MTPR

Amendment Blocking Job Corps Closures Passes House Vote

Jun 15, 2019

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly connected an appropriations bill procedural delay to the Job Corps amendment. The two are unrelated. Also, the original story correctly noted Gianforte did not vote on the Job Corps amendment, but failed to mention that was because he was flying to Montana with Vice President Pence to participate in a meth roundtable. Edward O'Brien is responsible for the mistakes, not reporter Nick Mott. O'Brien regrets the errors.  

An amendment that would stop the Trump Administration from closing or transferring 25 job training facilities for at-risk youth — including two in Montana — passed the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday.

The amendment is attached to a 2020 appropriations bill for the Department of Labor. In late May, that department announced it was closing nine Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers and likely privatizing management of 16 others. The programs employ about 1,100 people across the country, and students contributed about 450,000 hours fighting wildfires in 2017.

Montana’s congressional delegation quickly voiced their opposition to the move. The labor department’s announcement meant the Anaconda Job Corps would close and the Trapper Creek Job Corps in Darby would be transferred. Together, the corps employ more than 100 staff, serve more than 500 at-risk youth per year, and provide skilled labor for industry in rural parts of the state.

The House amendment passed in a bipartisan vote of 313 to 109. Greg Gianforte, who co-sponsored the amendment, did not vote on it. Gianforte's communications staff says that was because he was traveling with Vice President Mike Pence to a methamphetimine roundtable in Billings.  

All votes against the Job Corps amendment were Republican, but more than 70 members of that party voted for it.

A Senate bill that would stop the closure and transfer of the Job Corps facilities, introduced by Democrat Jon Tester and co-sponsored by Republican Steve Daines, sits in a committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry.