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Putnam Can't Erase His Long Record of Voting Against Vocational Education and STEM

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According to the Associated Press, Adam Putnam today is expected to release a vocational education proposal in Tampa and Panama City. What will likely go unmentioned is Putnam’s long record in Congress of opposing funding for vocational, STEM, and job training programs.

Below is a statement from Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Kevin Donohoe on Putnam’s election year conversion on vocational education:

"Adam Putnam has an abysmal record on vocational education — and nothing he does or says can change that. In Congress, Putnam spent years voting against job training grants and STEM education. Putnam's so-called plan to improve vocational education is just a cynical political stunt designed to hide his long record of opposing educational opportunities for Florida students and workers.

"Putnam has zero credibility on vocational education and his election-year focus on this issue is nothing more than a political sham. Putnam is a lifelong politician who will say or do anything to hide his decades-long record of hurting Floridians."

IN CONGRESS, PUTNAM VOTED AGAINST YOUTH AND ADULT JOB TRAINING GRANTS — INCLUDING FOR VETERANS

In November 2005, Putnam Voted for an Appropriations Bill That Cut $67 Million from Job Training Grants. In 2005, Putnam voted in favor of the Labor, HHS & Education appropriations conference report that cut $1.5 billion from key domestic priorities. The measure cut a program helping people find jobs by $89 million, cut youth and adult job training grants by $67 million and cut funds for offices that help unemployed workers obtain benefits by $141 million. The bill also cut an initiative the helps eradicate abusive child labor and protect worker rights and wages around the world by $20 million. The bill failed 209-224. [HR 3010, Vote #598, 11/17/05; House Appropriations Committee Democratic Staff, "Summary of the Conference Agreement - HR 3010," 11/16/05]

In June 2005, Putnam Voted Against a Motion to Invest $738 Million in Job Training. In 2005, Putnam voted against a motion to invest an additional $738 million to provide America’s workers with the tools and training they need to compete in the 21st century. The proposal included $81 million more for the International Labor Affairs Bureau to reverse the cut in the GOP bill and help protect American workers from being undercut by child and slave labor abroad. It also would have added $125 million more to fully fund the Community College Initiative so workers could qualify for the high-skills jobs that employers in growth industries have found difficult to fill. The motion failed 185-216. [HR3010, Vote #320, 6/24/05; Leadership document, "Democrats Fight For Education, Health Care, Human Services And Job Training."]

In March 2005, Putnam Voted Against Providing Job Training for Veterans Returning from Iraq and Workers Whose Jobs Were Moved Offshore. In 2005, Putnam voted against a motion to add language to a job training reauthorization bill that would provide financial assistance equal to the trade adjustment assistance program for job training, job searching or relocation costs for veterans returning from active duty in Iraq and to workers who are unemployed because their jobs were moved offshore. The motion was defeated 197-228. [HR 27, Vote #47, 3/2/05; CQ Floor Votes, 3/2/05]

Putnam Voted Against Rural Improvement Grants. In 2001, Putnam voted against an amendment to shift $100 million in fixed payments for agricultural producers to several rural grants. The grants included $45 million annually for Rural Strategic Planning Initiatives, $45 million annually for Community Water Assistance Grants and $10 million annually for the Value-Added Grants Program. The amendment passed, 235-183. [HR 2646, Vote #369, 10/4/01; Congressional Quarterly]

In October 2007, Putnam Voted For Reducing Help For Workers Hurt By Trade Agreements. In 2007, Putnam voted for the substitute amendment offered by Jim McCrery (R-LA) to modify the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program for workers, firms and farmers for five years. The amendment cut the benefits outlined for the extension of the Program only increasing the federal share of monthly TAA participant premiums for the Health Coverage Tax Credit by 5 percent. The substitute also allowed states to apply for waivers of unemployment compensation program rules and expanded the new markets tax credit to those impacted by trade and globalization job loss. The amendment was defeated 196-226. [HR 3920, Vote #1024, 10/31/07; CQ Floor Votes, 10/31/07]

In December 2005, Putnam Voted to Repeal a Law Helping Local Employers Harmed By Trade. In 2005, Putnam voted in favor of the conference agreement to cut mandatory spending programs by $39.7 billion over the following five years. Due to the billions of dollars in tax cuts passed separately, the budget reconciliation package would increase the deficit. The measure would repeal a provision - known as the Byrd Amendment - that redistributed customs duties to companies injured by unfair foreign trade. Since 2001, funds distributed through the program have benefited roughly 770 companies across the country that used the money to remain competitive with foreign businesses. The repeal would take effect in 2007 and was estimated to "save" roughly $300 million over five years. The measure passed 212-206. [S1932, Vote #670, 12/19/05; House Budget Committee Minority Staff, "Key Provisions in the Conference Report on the Republican Spending Reconciliation Bill." 12/19/05]

IN CONGRESS, PUTNAM HAS VOTED AGAINST SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH EDUCATION

In May 2010, Putnam Voted Against the America Competes Act, an $85.6 Billion Authorization for Scientific Research and Education. In 2010, Putnam voted against passage of the $85.6 billion authorization for science research and education programs, keeping America competitive in the science and technology fields. The bill reauthorized a 2007 law known as the America Competes Act, boosting funding for science and research. Specifically, the bill authorized spending for fiscal years 2011 through 2015 for research programs at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Energy Department. It would also authorize funding to support education and training in the "stem" fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The bill passed, 262-150. [HR 5116, Vote #332, 5/28/10; CQ Today, 5/28/10]

In August 2007, Putnam Voted Against the America COMPETES Act, Which Would Improve Funding for STEM Education and National Innovation. In 2007, Putnam voted against HR 2272, the America COMPETES Act. According to a Dallas Morning News editorial, the America COMPETES Act would, "*Provide teachers money for math and science training so they can teach Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, especially in high schools with numerous low-income students. AP and IB classes prepare students for intense college courses. *Offer scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate degrees in math and science. In supporting this legislation, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison lamented that America is 20th among nations in the proportion of its 24-year-olds with science and engineering degrees. *Double research funding for agencies like the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. They sponsor much of our physics and chemistry exploration." [HR 2272, Vote #802, 8/2/07; Dallas Morning News, editorial, 8/13/07]