House Education & Workforce Committee
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) released the following statement after President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:
Today's achievement is the result of a lot of hard work and compromise by Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. We rejected petty politics and put the best interests of working families first. Now we have a new law that will protect taxpayers and help put more Americans back to work. The American people deserve to see more of these bipartisan accomplishments. It is time to get back to work and find other areas of common ground that will help expand opportunity and prosperity for working families.
To learn more about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, click here.
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The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), today held a hearing entitled, “Protecting America’s Youth: An Update from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.” During the hearing, Mr. John Ryan, president and chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), discussed the center’s ongoing work to protect children and return victims to their families.
Mr. Ryan noted, “NCMEC’s success is a testament to Congress’ unwavering commitment to the work NCMEC does, and in particular to this committee’s support as we continue expanding our public-private partnerships to help protect children from abduction and exploitation and introduce new prevention initiatives to educate parents, teachers and communities on how to keep children safer.”
“The only way to describe the work of NCMEC’s staff is heroic,” said Rep. Rokita. “They are making a difference in the lives of countless children and families. Protecting children has been and must remain a national priority. Mr. Ryan and his staff are to be commended for their hard work and dedication.”
Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) echoed those sentiments: “The center and its staff provide an invaluable service to families each and every day. Despite its impressive achievements, we must do more to protect the nation's most vulnerable youth. Toward that end, I am hopeful we will move forward with bipartisan legislation to strengthen support for victims of youth sex trafficking. These efforts, as well as the continued work of NCMEC, will help provide vulnerable youth the assistance they desperately need.”
Throughout this morning’s hearing, members emphasized the need for continued congressional support of NCMEC and bipartisan efforts to protect vulnerable youth:
Rep. Phil Roe (T-TN)
With our human trafficking bills that Congress passed in a bipartisan way just a few weeks ago, it really helped educate me about the enormity of this problem… if you’re not really paying attention, and if you don’t know what to pay attention to, someone could be right there in front of you, carrying on an apparently normal life and they’re not carrying on a normal life.
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN)
As a U.S. Attorney, I had the opportunity to tour [NCMEC] and was very involved in our Internet crimes against children taskforce…thank you so much for your incredible help, I’m interested in learning whether there are any legal impediments that you have in working even closer with law enforcement.
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
One of our most crucial missions [is] keeping our children safe and I appreciate your work. I was pleased to learn of your initiative ‘Safe To Compete,’ which raises awareness of child athletes’ sexual abuse and provides training and preparedness opportunities.
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
[NCMEC reauthorization] shows that when we find common ground in the House and the Senate, we can work together. Senator Leahy (R-VT) and I were the primary sponsors of your reauthorization, and I came to tour [NCMEC], which I recommend to all of my colleagues...The techniques you have to go through to find missing children is certainly a skill and an ability and something needed.
To learn more about today’s hearing, or to watch an archived webcast, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
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Rokita Statement: Hearing on "Protecting America’s Youth: An Update from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children"
We are pleased to hear today from Mr. John Ryan, the president and chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or NCMEC. Mr. Ryan will give us an update on NCMEC’s important work and how a number of legislative changes enacted last year are enhancing the efforts of this organization.
At a ceremony opening the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, President Ronald Reagan said, “All Americans, and especially our youth, should have the right and the opportunity to walk our streets, to play and to grow and to live their lives without being at risk.” Spoken 30 years ago, President Reagan’s words are just as true now as they were back then.
If we are truly fighting for all people, so that they can build better lives for themselves and their families, one of the key things we must help them with is the safety of their children.
No child should be afraid to walk home from school, hang out with friends at the mall, or surf the Internet. Yet sadly we know that’s just not the case. Too often a predator is lurking in the shadows, ready to do harm. Each year thousands of children go missing or fall victim to sexual exploitation and other heinous crimes. As the father of two young boys, I cannot fathom the pain and suffering these families are forced to bear. No one can, but we can do something about it.
For 30 years a national public-private partnership has worked to protect children and safely return victims to their families. NCMEC is at this center of this vital effort. The organization provides services, resources, and other assistance to victims of abduction and sexual exploitation, as well as their families and those who serve them.
The center’s 24-hour Cyber Tipline has provided law enforcement with more than 2.3 million leads of suspected child sexual exploitation. On its own this would constitute a stellar record, but the tip line is only one part of a larger effort. The center also manages a national database on missing children, organizes case management teams to serve as a single point of contact for families, and offers training and technical assistance to law enforcement and professionals working in health care and the juvenile justice system.
These are just a few of the services and support provided each and every day. The only way to describe the work of NCMEC’s staff is heroic; they are making a difference in the lives of countless children and families. In fact, just this year, in partnership with the FBI and Department of Justice, NCMEC participated in Operation Cross Country VIII. This week-long national campaign led to the arrest of 281 child traffickers and the rescue of 168 children – besting its work from the prior year.
However, we all know that despite these achievements, more work needs to be done. To help support that effort, last year Congress passed the E. Clay Shaw, Jr. Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act. Enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support, the legislation extended our partnership with NCMEC while providing additional accountability and oversight protections. The law also includes reforms to encourage greater coordination between law enforcement, states, and schools.
As one of many partners, Congress cannot stop there. There is more that can and should be done on behalf of these vulnerable youth. Toward that end, a number of important legislative proposals were introduced that will help strengthen our commitment to youth who are victims of sex trafficking. While no legislation can provide a perfect solution, the bills put forward last week will move our country in the right direction.
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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** TOMORROW: Subcommittee to Examine Efforts to Assist Missing and Exploited Children
On Tuesday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), will hold a hearing entitled, "Protecting America’s Youth: An Update from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children." The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Since 1984, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has helped lead a coordinated national effort to assist children who are missing or victims of violent crimes. Authorized under the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, NCMEC has referred for investigation more than two million reports of crimes against children. In 2013, Congress reauthorized the law to ensure NCMEC continues its important work, while also strengthening taxpayer protections through enhanced accountability and oversight. Congress also included reforms to foster greater coordination between law enforcement and states, districts, and schools in their efforts to recover missing children, specifically those who are victims of child sex trafficking.
Tuesday’s hearing will provide members the opportunity to examine NCMEC’s ongoing work and implementation of recent legislative changes. To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
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Mr. John D. Ryan
President and CEO
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement after it was announced Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Director Josh Gotbaum would step down:
Director Gotbaum is to be commended for his years of dedicated service and unwavering commitment to workers and retirees. His departure comes at a critical time for the agency and those who participate in the multiemployer pension system. I urge the president to move quickly to find a qualified nominee to lead this important agency, and wish Josh and his family the best.
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