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Workforce development bill passes

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 8:03 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers criticized for a lack of productivity are hailing an adult education and job training bill the House passed on Wednesday as evidence that Congress can get something done.

The bill, which the House cleared for President Obama's signature on a 415-6 vote, would authorize $58 billion over six years for federal workforce development programs. It would eliminate 15 programs technically still on the books though most had become dormant in recent years.

House lawmakers had passed an earlier version of H.R. 803 last year. The Senate, after months of negotiations, passed an amended version in June.

The vote was made at an opportune moment for Republicans, who hold the chamber's majority and have endured criticism for refusing to schedule votes on immigration legislation, tax law changes or a replacement for the 2010 health-care law they've voted to repeal more than 50 times.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, penned a rare scathing letter to the editor in the Capitol Hill newspaper Politico demanding an apology for a report that blamed House Republicans and Senate Democrats for combining to do almost nothing to improve the economy.

“Anyone who thinks, says, or writes that the House of Representatives isn't focused on jobs and the economy is lying, or simply not paying attention,” Boehner wrote.

Republicans say jobs bills they've passed are sitting idle in the Democratic-led Senate. Senate Democrats, in turn, say House Republicans refuse to take up bills that would pass the House because they might need Democratic votes to do so.

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