Newsroom

Members send a bipartisan, bicameral letter raising concerns regarding the Department’s use of appropriated fund

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and the other Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to United States Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Eugene Scalia regarding the Department’s acknowledgment that more than one million dollars in funding for the Apprenticeship Grants program had been inappropriately obligated. Funding for this program, which started in fiscal year 2016, has resulted in hundreds of thousands of new apprentices.

“Quality registered apprenticeship programs provide pathways to good paying jobs for workers across the country, which is why they’ve received strong bipartisan support in Congress. But Congress specifically barred the Department of Labor from using appropriated funds for non-registered programs that do not ensure the same benefits and protections for workers and employers that registered programs provide. It’s simple – the Department of Labor must use the funds as required by Congress. If the Department of Labor violated appropriations law, then it must be held accountable. Democrats and Republicans came together to fund and support registered apprenticeships, and we have joined forces again to demand answers from DOL and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used in accordance with the law,” said Senator Murray.

“Any misuse of funds, especially when contrary to the purpose of the appropriation, raises serious concerns regarding the Department’s internal financial controls and accountability on the use of appropriated funds,” wrote the Members. “While we did not receive supporting documentation concerning this information, a news media outlet was able to obtain ‘…an internal agency discussion document detailing results of the financial review.’ We are troubled to learn that the press was able to obtain such documentation before any information was provided to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”

“As the Committees of jurisdiction with oversight over discretionary appropriations for the Department of Labor, the provision of timely information regarding the use of funds is essential to our ability to conduct oversight,” continued the Members. “When we request information on any misuse of funds, we appreciate a prompt and thorough response. We expect that the Department will take such an investigation seriously and we encourage you to work cooperatively with the Committees.”

In February, Senator Murray pressed the Department of Labor for answers on whether the Department was misusing funds appropriated by Congress for registered apprenticeships. In August, Senator Murray again wrote the Department urging them to abandon their proposed unregistered apprenticeship program.

Read the full letter HERE.

###