House committee passes LaHood bill to help end nation’s labor shortage

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Nov. 2 unanimously approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) that seeks to end the nation’s labor shortage by helping more Americans find good-paying jobs. 

The committee voted 41-0 to advance the Building on Reemployment Improvements to Deliver Good Employment (BRIDGE) for Workers Act, H.R. 5861, to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Rep. LaHood on Oct. 2 introduced H.R. 5861 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) to provide greater flexibility to states in administering existing unemployment benefits.

“I am proud to work with my colleague from Chicago, Ranking Member Davis, on this important issue and urge the full House to swiftly pass our bill,” Rep. LaHood said.

H.R. 5861 would expand the allowable purposes for certain U.S. Department of Labor grants to states for reemployment services and eligibility assessments. The bill would allow these grants to be used to fund reemployment services and eligibility assessments for all claimants for unemployment compensation, according to the congressional record bill summary. 

Currently, the grants may only be used to provide such services to a subset of claimants who have been identified by the state as likely to exhaust unemployment benefits and need job search assistance to become employed, the summary says.

“The United States currently has 1.5 unfilled jobs for every unemployed worker, which underscores the need for Congress to incentivize individuals to get back into the workforce,” said Rep. LaHood. “The BRIDGE for Workers Act provides more flexibility to the states and gives individuals on unemployment greater access to workforce development tools, which will strengthen our communities and our economy.”